Most people are aware of the most common, most talked about symptoms of depression; the feelings of guilt, worthlessness and pessimism; sleeping problems; loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable; over or under eating and fatigue are among the most well known.
Some of the most difficult symptoms of my depression that impact my daily life are among the less known. Trouble with decision making is a big one for me. The simplest decisions can seem huge and be impossible to make. If I can't decide what to eat, I will probably not eat, if I can't decide what to wear, I will likely not put on any clothes. Being asked to make a decisions about what to do with the day is infuriating, I usually fail to see any positives in any possible option and my depression is just magnified.
Being unable to cry. I really hate this one. When most people think of suffering with depression they imagine a lot of tears. Sometimes I feel at my worst when I have days of not crying, because it feels impossible to cry, I feel too numb. This can easily lead to self destructive behaviours with the intention of being able to feel something, that releases the tears that have built up. Just because someone isn't crying, it doesn't mean they are not broken inside.
Another big one for me is irritability and frustration. I will get frustrated and annoyed twice as fast as I would normally and the frustration effects me more than it should. I take things more personally, and might assume that something was done purposely to annoy me.
Everything takes so long to do. Once I have decided to get out of bed in the morning it will normally take hours to gather the mental energy to actually make a move. I will often get stuck sat down at points in the day for hours at a time, feeling no motivation to move or do anything. If I decide to have a shower it will usually take hours between making the decision and getting in the shower and then I won't be able to motivate myself to dry off and at least half of my day is gone.
Another surprisingly common, yet less known symptom of depression is unexplained aches and pains. This is down to a couple of reasons that I could go into in more detail in a separate post. It can actually hurt a lot. Neck pain, back pain and headaches are my depression's favourites. It makes getting out of bed even harder when the mental pain spreads to the rest of my body.
With depression, the presenting symptoms can vary greatly. No one person experiences it the same as another which can make sympathising, understanding and diagnosis extremely difficult. Awareness of how the illness can effect someone and gaining more insight into personal stories of depression is how we can move forward and continue to fight the stigma. So please share this post and share your stories with others or in the comments.