You may experience the following when depressed:
- You feel low and unable to find excitement and pleasure in life
- You are constantly binging on carbs or seem to have no appetite at all
- You cannot sleep well or you sleep too much
- You feel all over the place, your energy seems to come and go as it pleases
- You think of yourself as a worthless human being with no place in the world
- You avoid social contact
- You find it hard to make decisions or get motivated
- You think about death and suicide
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She has come to stay
Sadness is a normal, healthy emotion which all of us experience at given times of our lives. We feel sad for a great array of reasons, mainly when we lose someone or something that is dear to us, or when life does not quite turn out what we expected. Feeling sad has some beneficiary purposes. It is a reminder of the things we lost, the moments we enjoyed and the lesson we learned. Sadness or the thought of being sad can prevent us from doing something we may later regret. Feeling sad makes us value our love and our relationships with others. It also stirs our attention back towards acting to our own benefit, keeping us in tune with our own true selves.
Sadness, when in its right time and circumstances, comes as a natural, plausible feeling. It brings out our humanity and the ability to recognise suffering, be it in ourselves or others. Sadness is not meant to be a state of permanent being, since it comes and goes as a response to specific situations. It is context-dependant and not a generalised, one-fits-all response to life.
Depression is a type of persistent sadness. Unlike short-lived sad episodes, it lingers, limiting the way in which we experience and interpret reality. Instead of resulting in motivation to feel better, or reminding us of some good times past, it drags us down into a whole of hopelessness and dejection. We fail to connect with a sense of belonging and our acts lose meaning. We lose interest in life and go through it as if on autopilot. We become unable to relate to those little joys that make all the difference, as an act of kindness or a long embrace from a loved one.
Unable to shake off those bad feelings, we surrender to an existence absent of all pleasure. When living offers no reward, death becomes appealing. If all hope is lost, thoughts of suicide feel not that absurd after all.
The real cost of depression:
- It increases your chances of being unemployed. You feel less productive, become disorganised and take more days off
- It makes you more likely to develop a problem with substance abuse
- It is linked to heart disease
- It can lead to marital problems and divorce
- It puts you at greater risk of becoming obese
- It heightens the symptoms of other health problems
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