9 Common Symptoms of Depression — as Told By Memes
While there’s nothing funny about living with depression, sometimes people use humor to share what it’s like experiencing common symptoms.
To shed some light on what these symptoms are, we pulled together memes created by the online depression community, and rounded up personal stories from members of our own Mighty mental health community. If you live with depression, you might be able to relate.
1. Decreased Energy or Fatigue
While feeling tired is something many people with depression experience, sometimes fatigue is a more accurate word for the the constant, perpetual state. Mighty contributor Simone Lisa wrote about this in her piece, “How Depression Fatigue Is Different Than Feeling Tired.”
I am not tired, I am fatigued. Fatigue is a weariness that sinks deep into every pore of my being. Fatigue is not cured by a few hours sleep. I don’t wake feeling rested, I wake feeling exactly the same as I did when I went to sleep. I wake feeling weary.
2. Loss of Interest in Things You Once Enjoyed
Mighty contributor Page B. knows what it’s like to lose interest in things that once brought happiness. In her piece, “When You Lose Interest in Everything You Used to Love,” she wrote,
After losing interest in all of the things that used to bring me so much joy, I sit here and don’t know what else to do with my life. I don’t love it more than I have ever loved anything in my entire life, and it makes me feel like I’m lost.
3. Feelings of Worthlessness
Depression is often characterized by circular thinking. In her piece, “On the Days I Don’t Like Me,” Mighty contributor Summer Forsyth writes about how depression can tell her she’s worthless.
I had no appetite so I fed myself lies, like nobody loves you. Nobody wants to hang out. Look, there’s nobody answering your calls. You’re worthless, you’re hated, you are not good enough. In reality, I had a bunch of people who loved me. Family, friends, sisters from the sorority I unceremoniously excommunicated myself from. They were just busy. Busy living the life I could have. Living without ever knowing I was suffering in my tiny little apartment in the dark. I never let them know how bad things really were.
4. Feelings of Emptiness
Feeling empty is something many people experience in life at some point. But for many with depression, it is a chronic feeling that doesn’t seem to lift. In her piece “On the Days Depression Makes You Feel Nothing at All” Mighty contributor B.L. Lacker wrote about the days she struggles with emptiness.
On these days, I have trouble pulling myself up or doing anything. I’m not being lazy. I just don’t see the point. I am pulled into this gray abyss, where there is no purpose, no joy, no motivation, no will to live. It isn’t that I’m suicidal and actively want to die, either. I just have no will to live today. The emptiness is all-consuming.
5. Suicidal Thoughts
All light-hearted humor aside, suicidal behaviors and self-harm can be serious and debilitating symptoms for many people with depression. In the piece, “When You’re in the Gray Area of Being Suicidal,” Mighty contributor Taylor Nicole describes what her suicidal thoughts feel like,
People think of things like suicide in such black or white terms. But much like everything else we are so quick to place into categories, being suicidal falls into a gray area for me. Sometimes, I wonder if it does for anybody else. See I can be in a really great mood, right? I could be having the best day of my life. Still, suicidal thoughts will linger. I don’t have to be in a bad mood to be suicidal. I will still have those thoughts if I’m surrounded by the people I love, or if I’m doing something I’m passionate about.
Feeling suicidal doesn’t always mean someone will act on their thoughts, but if you hear a friend constantly joking about suicide or saying they have nothing to live for, ask them about it, and point them to mental health resources if they need them.
If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.
6. Feeling Hopeless About Your Life
When you’re struggling with depression, sometimes it can be hard to feel hopeful about your life at all. This is a feeling Mighty contributor Elizabeth Duff is familiar with. In her piece about how depression affects the way she looks at her life, she said,
Your existence feels detached; you think you’re inconsequential… When nothing in life feels meaningful or worthy, it is alienating and dreadful. Your relationships and work may suffer, as those around you may interpret your attitude as being deliberately indifferent or distant.
Reaching out for help can be one of the hardest things to do when you’re struggling with depression. In his piece, “The Isolation Cycle of Depression and Anxiety,” Mighty contributor Jacob Dunn wrote about why he continues to isolate himself when he’s struggling.
It feels like I’m not right and don’t fit in with the status quo anymore. And that’s why isolation occurs in the first place. Because our first reaction is not to talk, not to vent. It is to shut ourselves down and wait it out. Even though it didn’t work the last time, the first time, or the times in-between.
8. Chronic Guilt
Many people struggling with depression feel guilty for being depressed. And unfortunately, depression often won’t allow you to let go of your guilt. Mighty contributor Alexa Jary has a message for people struggling with guilt in her piece, “The Symptom of Depression We Don’t Often Hear About.”
You may feel like you’ve had a good life. You may feel like other people have it much worse. You may not understand why you feel depressed. You may feel like you don’t deserve to be depressed. You may feel like since your life has been OK so far, there’s no reason you should be depressed. There are two reasons why you shouldn’t believe those things. The first is it doesn’t matter if someone else has it worse. You’re hurting, and your feelings are valid… The second reason is there doesn’t have to be a reason you feel depressed. Some people know their triggers. Some people don’t… Depression affects everyone differently.
9. Trouble Sleeping or Sleeping Too Much
Having trouble getting out of bed due to oversleeping or insomnia is a struggle many with depression face. In her piece, “Why You Shouldn’t Be Jealous I Spent All Day in Bed,” Mighty contributor Jacqueline Michelle wrote,
I don’t enjoy spending all day in bed. I’m just not lying here in hopes of wasting my entire day… My entire body aches. I feel as if there are anchors tied to my core and every limb of my body preventing me from lifting myself off of my bed. Everything is daunting. Everything is too much. Thinking about getting up is anxiety-inducing. Even the most minuscule of tasks feel absolutely impossible. My dishes from last night? That will take energy I don’t have. Brush my teeth? Yeah, right.
If you’re struggling with any of these symptoms of depression, know you aren’t alone. If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.