How Depression May Affect Your Life 256

Image: Flaming June by Frederic Lord Leighton

Flaming June by Frederic Lord Leighton

    • Your place is a mess; laundry and dishes are piled up, mail is unopened, etc. (Assuming you usually stay on top of these things).
    • You’ve been making excuses to friends why you can’t get together with them, or you’re telling them you’re “just too tired.”
    • You’ve really let yourself go – you’re wearing clothes that make you look dumpy, you’ve stopped exercising, you’re not shaving unless it’s absolutely necessary.

  • You’re wearing mostly dark colors.
  • You’re putting off things that need to be done: your car registration, taking that book back to the library, buying a birthday present for someone.
  • You can’t remember the last time you laughed a real laugh.
  • You don’t feel like you can handle your job anymore, even though nothing has changed so far as increased workload or responsibility.
  • You’re drinking or using drugs to escape the pain.
  • You’ve been to the doctor a lot recently, for things like headaches, stomach aches, fatigue, but the doctor can’t find anything wrong. Or you have convinced yourself you have a life-threatening illness – AIDS or cancer or a tumor.
  • You wake up in the middle of the night, and can’t go back to sleep. During the day you sleep a lot to escape from your life.
  • It takes you a whole weekend to do chores that used to only occupy a morning.
  • Since you’ve lost interest in things you used to enjoy doing, you try a lot of different activities in the hopes that you can find something to occupy your time.
  • You have no ability to imagine or conceive of your life even a few days ahead – no plans, no hopes. You can’t even be sure you’ll still be here.
  • You wear the same clothes a few days in a row – choosing new ones is too much effort.
  • You lose things, you lose track of things and can’t always remember what day it is.
  • You’ve pretty much stopped eating, or caring what you eat and whether it tastes good.
  • On the flip side, you may be eating all the time because you’re bored and hope that food will somehow satisfy the vacant feeling you have.
  • You’ve lost interest in sex or even physical affection. Hugging someone doesn’t feel any different from leaning against a wall.
  • You’re reading escapist books (fantasy, sci-fi, romance, mystery) with little effort, but anything more demanding mentally (the classics, reading for school) is too much effort.
  • You’re avoiding talking to anyone to whom you have an obligation (your boss, friends who you’re ignoring).
  • You’re watching TV constantly – lying on the couch or on/in your bed flicking the remote seems to be the most effort you can deal with.
  • You hope you don’t run into anyone you know while you’re out. Not only is maintaining a normal conversation difficult, but you are sure they’ll notice something is wrong with you.

I hope these examples help to clarify things. Also see Reflections on Depression.

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256 thoughts on “How Depression May Affect Your Life

  • Naomi

    I am like so many of you that hide away under the covers for days on end. I forget to eat, don’t wash or change my clothes, and sadly sometimes I will even hold off going to the bathroom that I will have an accident on the way. This episode I have been put of work for a month to heal after a termination and being abandoned by the father. Not for everybody but I would have surly killed myself if the pregancy was to continue. I could beer do it alone. A for drugs I need them an currently have been put on benzodaisapans for the first time and am already worried about stopping them as I feel calm and as I’d u can get stuff done. I cry all the time, I have tried being a witch talking to god and even ghosts when I am so alone and scared. I am over not knowing who I really am, what is my personality? What is normal ?
    When will I feel happy, safe and be loved as I am

  • Annonymus

    I am 16 year old guy.. I have like 90% of all the symptoms shown above.. Depression is a bitch then you die .. I had attempted suicided but I was saved somehow .. The only best thing I can advice you to do is .. Just hang in there .. Keep fighting it .. Don’t give up on life .. You will find a rainbow in the rain .. Life is just pain if someone says something different about it he’s definitely selling something .. People will fuck you hurt u .. Not care .. Leave u to rot .. But u should remember life is just about creating yourself.. I have learned and faced just a lot .. I am 16 and I have already faced all the grown up problems .. Life has just made me grown too fast .. All I can say don’t underestimate yourself .. Keep fighting .. Never give up :’) “If anyone wants to talk to me feel free to email me at “”

  • I'm tired.

    I’m very tired. Everything makes me sick. My family, my friends, my life. I don’t enjoy the things i used to love. I had so many doubts about the love for the man i was planning to marry. We went on and off at least 5 or 6 times. Now I know the reason for that was not him but me. I am very pathetic.
    I am a 24 year old woman who drinks till she feels nothing, punches her face and bites her arms until she has dark dark bruises, is up all night long wishing to be different. I have lost to my depression, and I am very tired. Very tired of fighting.

  • Sean

    I have planned out my death. I am married to a wonderful women who, in my opinion, deserves better than me. I have sought help for my sadness and anxiety and depression and fear…all I wanted was someone to talk to, someone who can help me claw my way back to happiness. I DONT want my 4 children and my wife to live with my death, but I feel pathetic. I retired from the military (22 years), I’m in Graduate school but the sadness is overwhelming. I can’t talk to any of my friends about this – men don’t talk about killing themselves. I CANNOT burden my wonderful wife with this information. I’ve been to therapy a few times…but didn’t get much from it; she refered me to some “talk therapy” group – I DONT want to discuss my dire circumstances with strangers, I just want someone to listen and understand…and help. As I type this I feel my chest tighten and I want to frigging cry; I’ve never typed something like this for strangers to read. Goodbye for now.

  • It's my time to go

    I hate feeling like this all I want is to be happy. I feel like I have no purpose or significance in life. I really want to end my life however I don’t want people to think that I done it for attention nor do I want anyone to find out.

  • Been there

    Everyone, you must read this: Depression runs in my family, and I had my bout with it a couple of decades ago when in my late 20s. Everything described in these pages is what I felt. What I’ve never seen quite explained clearly is that depression DISTORTS REALITY. What you are feeling is NOT your real world; this disease makes your world seem bleak, hopeless and therefore makes you believe it is beyond your control and cannot change. THIS IS FALSE. Put simply, this disease zaps the chemicals in your brain that provide balance and allow you to see reality as it really is. I know this is hard to believe when you are going through it, but this is 100% the case. YOUR LIFE SITUATION IS NOT WHAT’S WRONG, and this is good news.

    I beat my condition by understanding the above and finally visiting our family medical doctor (yes, medical doctor, NOT a shrink). he prescribed some medication that ended the vicious cycle and got me out of it. I am now a successful, happy man with a family. I now have a full understanding of this disease, and trust me, self-knowledge of what depression REALLY is is a powerful weapon in controlling it and BEATING it.

    What I have read on these pages has both touched and disturbed me. Suicide? Please, please, please: if you are experiencing this destructive disease I urge you to see a medical doctor right now. Do not be embarassed, for they regularly deal with this and fully understand that it’s not you, it’s the disease.

    You do NOT have to suffer with this any longer, and you will be amazed at how your world changes back to normal.

    • Alex

      I don’t think that depression is always a case of “distorted reality”. We depressives do seem to have a similar reality, but is it really distorted? Modern life is not easy, there’s a lot of pressure, a lot of competition, money worries, insecurities – it’s easy to get sick.

      In this society, weakness is looked down on. If you don’t cope with life, people denigrate you. As communities, we are unsupportive to those who have the intelligence to recognise the futility of a lot of what “life” involves. Is it really an intelligent choice to make yourself happy? I feel a bit like I need to reserve some sort of dignity and retain a healthy cynicism..even if I could make it so, my life cannot be all fluffy bunnies and rainbows.

      There are plenty of good things in life, and yes some people do seem to be able to “recover” and become high functioning, well respected members of society with no apparent mental weakness. So be it, but I don’t feel I can ever be somebody who finds it natural to be happy.

  • Martin Wilkins

    I live in Canada where every winter it gets dark, cold and snowy. At first it seemed like a quick diagnosis of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Try light therapy and St Johns and all ok. Had a major meltdown recently and wound up in my Doctor’s office and he prescribed Cipralex which seems to help. Couple that with 25 years of being free from drugs and alcohol. I feel for those with depression….its one of those things you don’t even know you have it. All the fears, the worst thoughts simply won’t go away. I have a loving wife and 2 boys are seemed to have inherited this plague from Dad.My higher power has to help.

  • Nic

    Okay so I’m 18 and probably ever since I was 13, 14 years old I have experienced every single symptom of depression, and since nothing has ever got any better, I still have it. It’s a very hard thing to shake, but I am finally going to a therapist after all theses years, now I feel nothing at all, and to me ,feeling no emotion is worse than feeling sad. I would rather feel something than feel nothing. I could only wish that I would someday feel happiness. That I could bring true joy and laughter into my life. Being depressed is no way to live a happy life. It only brings you down and forces you to accept it. It throws away your dreams and hurts your future. I wish there was something that I could do to make it go away, please help me..

  • Stav Raz

    My name is Stav Raz and I’m a filmmaker at UCLA Graduate program. I am writing to you because I was in love with a very depressed man. Through the relationship I realized that this depressed man was once a depressed child. It got me interested about childhood depression. While its taboo I believe it needs to be talked about and I really appreciate you guys writing about it.

    I am currently making a short film about childhood depression and any help would be greatly appreciated! Here is a link to my project so you can take a look at it yourself. I really hope to shed some light on the dangers of it and make people aware that depression in children does exist.

    Thank you for your time,

  • Jeremy

    I have a lot of these symptoms and I’m kind of glad that I am not alone. Is it normal if everyday of my life for the past few years that I wish I could go back in time to my younger years when life was perfect and I had no worries and none of these symptoms. I just wish I could go back……

  • wendy

    when i read these pages i see again i am not alone. but it only makes me feel worse. not better. i got a dog hoping it would help me with focus. but it has only done so on a minor scale. i still oversleep. watch tv or play video games. i had sitting with my brain thoughts. at nite i have to take something to stop memories from flooding in. wondering when am i going to just be able to sleep again. when can i feel that good wiped out feeling you get. i am so lonely. my closest friend left me because he couldnt deal with my emotions any more. couldn’t predict how i would react and so he became afraid and angry. i tried to reconcile, but found myself angry at him for not trying to understand. now i hate me even more than i have before. i hate having this illness it has robbed me of most of my lifetime. i wish i could just die and be finally free. Finally Free!!!

  • Joe

    Completely unfocused lately with no direction; no real desire. Just want to get away from my life and be alone, be free. I get very irritated easily. Life just isn’t fun anymore. I don’t want to even go home at the end of the day.
    Simple things can evoke a crying fit.
    Am I slipping into a depression? Would chnging my life help?

  • kim

    Depression is making me loose my mind I am so unhappy the stress of everyday life has taken it toll on me. If it was not for my son I will not have a will to live. I don”t have anyone that I trust I wish I could be alone.I’ve been married for 15years and yet I am not married. This has only been one of my MANY mistakes that I have made in life.I am not really sure why the person I married married it was never about love and thats one of the most hurtful feelings. I am begging GOD to help me escape this life that I am living. to be so unhappy about everything has to mean that I am crazy it can’t be everyone around me HELP someone please HELP.

  • shannon

    since i had surgery in January my life has changed completely. i have not stayed in college for the full course because of being in the doctors or hospital all the time and since the surgery had not healed by November they suggested that i go back in for surgery. since the 7th of November I’ve become distant, angry, feel like my career aspirations have been taken away from me and i don’t want to spend no time with the family. all i want is to be healed and feel well ready for Christmas but in my state i have no hope.

  • Jay

    Im was suffering from this crazy pain 24/7. I can’t think, If i think it will be about Crazyness. My mind is so random, Full of random music. Im not Crazy thoe. I can actually see myself But can’t help myself. I never went to the doctor.

  • Johnny


    I was just diagnosed with depression last week and my doctor has prescribed medication.

    I reckon I’ve been struggling for about 8 years and thimnsg just got worse for me this year when my Mum died, not just cos she dies but the circumstances under which she fell ill in the first place..i blame myself for my part in this.

    I saw a counsellor and that helped and i’ve made sure that work colleagues and some friends and family know.

    All of you feeling this was need to relaise that you are a wonderful person being pushed down by all this and thzt person needs to be helped to fight thru it all to reveal the true wonderful you.

    I know it’s hard but speak to one person who is not directly involved with you..a teacher, an older friend, older relative…you are worth the help that you need.

    I wish you all the very best

  • Stephen

    Hey, about 2 months ago I started feeling really ill constantly it was always on my mind night and day the only time it wasn’t was when I was asleep, I’ve been to the doctors and they say it’s ‘anxiety disorder’ but gradually everything in my life seems pointless and I worry about everything, everything feels doll, I don’t want to go anywhere but stay in bed all day, I’m constantly tired and more recently have seriously considered suicide I don’t know what to do, I’ve told my parents everything they just say I’m mental, I look at other people that are happy and all I do is wish that was me.. I’ve lost my appetite, I go for walks to get away but that just makes me think about everything even more.. I’m genuinely sick of living I prefer being asleep to being awake, the only time I’m relatively happy is when I’m wasted drunk. Please someone help, am i depressed? I’m almost at an end now :'(

  • Thea

    I feel this during the summer and I did for the beginning of the year last year at school but… I learned why I live for my friends! Maybe my family can’t except I know more about feelings, and think that they have it worst but my friends are always there I think when I go to high school I probably will go crazy again but not for another year. Theres