HOPE - Life without Depression

People with depressive pathology do not all experience the same symptoms. The severity, frequency, and duration of symptoms vary depending on the individual and his or her particular illness. Because symptoms are subjective, some patients will not express or hide them, making the diagnosis of depressive disorder difficult.

Following are the description of the symptoms by two different patients:

Patient 1

"It was really hard to get out of bed in the morning. I just wanted to hide under the covers and not talk to anyone. I didn't feel much like eating and I lost a lot of weight. Nothing seemed fun anymore. I was tired all the time, and I wasn't sleeping well at night. But I knew I had to keep going because I've got kids and a job. It just felt so impossible, like nothing was going to change or get better."

Patient 2

"I felt dirty and unwashed. All my surroundings felt dirty and I spent hours cleaning the house with no results. I took long baths and even after them I still felt dirty. My sleep was broken with horrible nightmares with gore and destruction. I felt tired, mostly because I could not sleep. I cried every morning because I felt like a total failure. I felt ugly and no amount of makeup could cover this feeling. I did not want to go out in public at all"

Signs and symptoms of depression may include:

Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings
Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
Irritability, restlessness
Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
Fatigue and decreased energy
Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
Overeating, or appetite loss
Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment

Next: Causes of depression