What is depression, and how does it feel?

I was talking to another doc the other day and realized that many doctors and lay people have the wrong idea about how depression feels. Real depression doesn't have to be, and often it isn't that you hate yourself. The actual clinical definition of depression is when you have no desire to do anything, and so you sit and do nothing.

This is why it is often said no one commits suicide when they are depressed. They commit it when they are coming out of depression. So, you still feel bad, but you have enough energy and uumph to do something. However, I have never liked the definition as it doesn't paint a clear enough picture of how it feels for many people. It isn't just that people don't want to do something. We have all felt that.

The let's go see a movie, and you think ehh, I don't have strong feelings for that or against that, a kind of apathy. While that does fit the definition and is often what people feel, it gets much worse than that.

Imagine you're a kid playing video games and having a great time. Then your parents come in and tell you that you must stop and mow the yard, which will take the rest of the day.

Imagine how much that kid doesn't want to go mow the yard. That is the level of not wanting to do things we are discussing. It isn't just that you don't care if you do or don't, which would be apathy, but you definitely do not want to do that thing. However, that is how you feel about everything.

Want to eat, F no, wants to watch a movie, F no, wants to go work out, F no. Everything is 100%. I don't want to do that. But it is everything, even going to the bathroom or staying in bed and sleeping; you certainly don't want to do it.

This is why depression can be so bad. Imagine hating everything you do and don't do every day. I hope this definition sheds some light on it for those who have never felt this way.

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Dr. Matt Chalmers

Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only. Before taking any action based on this information you should first consult with your physician or health care provider. This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions regarding a medical condition, your health, or wellness.

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