Seeing Through the Eyes of People with Depression

Many people ask, “Why is depression such a complicated thing for others, that they even have to commit suicide?” “Couldn’t they just shrug it off and start thinking positive thoughts?” “They should just divert their thinking and do other stuff to make them occupied with productive things.” If you are a person who has these kind of thoughts, you must consider to continue reading this to have a clear picture of what depression is like.

What is depression? Let’s define it according to DSM V  Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

“It is having a depressed mood or a loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities for more than two weeks. Mood represents a change from the person’s baseline.Impaired function: social, occupational, educational. Specific symptoms, at least 5 of these 9, present nearly every day: Depressed mood or irritable, Decreased interest or pleasure, Significant weight change (5%) or change in appetite, Change in sleep, Change in activity, Fatigue or loss of energy, Guilt/worthlessness, Concentration and Suicidality.”

If you think you are reading exactly what you are feeling now in your current mental health status based on DSM-V, I strongly suggest you seek help.

Many people overuse the term “depressed” for situations not even measurable to the meaning of it. If you think you are depressed just because the girl/boy you like doesn’t love you back, wherein in this season of your life you still have to focus on your studies, then don’t mistake depression for a petty drama.

Don’t also mistake sadness with depression. Sadness is a normal emotional response of people. Depression is a disorder.

Depressed people are being inhumanely lifted out of the choice to be happy even if they want to. They couldn’t just “snap out of it” just like many people advice depressed people to do. People die because of it because they couldn’t just “snap out of it.” If they could, I tell you, they will surely do everything to be free from the sting of depression.  Depression is not merely an emotion, but also a physiological imbalance through hormonal changes.
Let me give you a practical situation of what depression is like.

All of people like to eat food (I bet this is our common ground to satisfy our physiological needs). Imagine, one day, you suddenly don’t find your favorite food delicious. It sounds impossible right? But for depressed people, that’s how drastic the change of their feelings could be. It is a sudden disappearance of their likeness for an activity that once gave them pleasure. Imagine a person you loved with all of your heart. And then, you suddenly feel as if you no longer desire intimacy with that person. The fire of love seems as if someone has poured cold water to put it out. You turned cold on the relationship. No longer you seemed to be the person your other half has loved or met.

Depression takes out your identity and capacity for attachment.

I say, people who commit suicide are not entirely selfish. Depression is what blocked them to think and feel normally. It has left them no choice to be in control of themselves. Depressed people are emotionally sensitive to others and yet they couldn’t accept someone’s encouragement. For someone who feels no hope in the world, and yet feels as if he/she is a burden to someone, it may actually contribute more to the thought of committing suicide for them not just to escape the pain of reality but also the guilt they put upon themselves for being a burden to someone’s shoulder. Now, that is care translated to a morbid action.

Some people might say,”Come on! It isn’t that hard to not think of death, right? Keep yourself busy so that your mind will become productively preoccupied”. Uttering that kind of statement is just like saying to a person with terminal illness, “Just take vitamins regularly and keep yourself physically active and it will go away.” Actually, this kind of statement could even make a negative impact to someone who is depressed, making him/herself think “Am I this weak to not cope up with a situation seemingly easy for others to surmount?”. Then, self-pity comes uninvited. Positive thinking is never stimulated in depression. Creating positive thoughts in a depressed person is just like trying to escape being buried alive just to see the light.

It feels as if  dark clouds keep following you wherever you go. It seems that you are trapped in an overwhelming feeling of dread and sadness that even a good morning sunshine doesn’t seem to help you to feel better. Every good thing in the world seems an irony of how you feel towards it. Your real self, out of the picture of depression, seems to be drowning, shouting for help but no one notices you. No hope. Endless pain. Plain emptiness.

Depression is a serious matter. Being diagnosed with a mental disorder is no different being diagnosed with a terminal illness. It takes the life out of you. You are left to be like a living dead. It imprisons the person you once used to be.

So, next time you bump on to someone you know who is undergoing depression, don’t just assume to say an advice that works for you. Instead, give them a hug or a tap in the back while telling them you are always there for them. The message in an action speaks louder than million of words. The gesture of care will make them feel significant and close to you. It will surely make them feel way better. Lend your ears to listen to their innermost feelings. Speak words of life over their situation. The positive transference coming from your encouragement will make a big impact to loosen up the tightness of their struggle. Encourage them to seek professional help that will make them be directed on the sure way of recovering from their illness. You don’t necessarily need to have a deep knowledge about psychology to help put a stepping stone from someone else’s path to recovery. But, all you need is to have a genuine love and care to go the extra mile to understand their needs.

If you are asking, “How sure are you that this is exactly what a depressed person feels?” 

Well, it could be different or even worse for other people who are depressed. But there is no more legitimate source that I can dig out, other than my own experience swimming my way out of it through the help of people extending their hands when I almost drowned of depression.
Be a turning point of healing for someone today.

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A guy from the Philippines whose origin of interest and passion in Psychology and pursuing a career out of it came from resolving existential basic issues.

Currently on my last year under the Master's program specializing in Clinical Psychology, working as a Behavioral Therapist in a center specifically doing Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy to children with Neurodevelopmental Disorder.

Free time is spent mostly with myself as I introspect about many things, talking with friends, exercising at the gym, writing blogs to release what's on my mind, listening to inspiring and empowering songs, and watching documentaries of various sort.

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