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6 Ways Depression Affects People Who Seem 'Normal'

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Depression manifests itself differently in different people. For some people it manifests more on the outside, making them look miserable. For others, it manifests more on the inside and in ways that affect the person’s behavior and actions.

For some people, it’s easy to hide their depression, so much so that these people might hear things like, “You don’t look depressed,” or, “How can you be depressed? You always seem so happy at work.” When I told coworkers I’ve known for over a year I was diagnosed with depression, they literally asked if I was being serious. Probably because I would always come into work and laugh and smile and seem just like everything was good. That was just how I came across to people because it was easier than accepting the truth that I was depressed.

Depression still affects people like this, no matter how OK and “normal” they may seem. Here are the ways it can still affect them and their lives.

1. Depression makes us unbelievably exhausted after a long day of being out in the real world.

Yes, work and life in general can be so tiring, but this is a different kind of exhaustion. It’s the kind of exhaustion that comes from wearing a fake smile all day. It’s the kind of exhaustion that comes from having to hold all of your feelings and emotions in so that people don’t realize you’re not OK. It’s the kind of exhaustion that can make you question if life and all of this is even worth living.

2. Depression makes getting through the day harder than it needs to be.

Depression is good at making the simplest of tasks draining. It can make driving to work or school in the morning exhausting. It can make having to talk or interact with anyone exhausting. Being awake can take every ounce of our energy.

3. Depression makes us isolate ourselves.

This includes canceling plans that we made forever ago because our day-to-day life just feels ridiculously demanding. This means after a long day of going out and living our life, we want nothing more than to just go to our room or our home, or anywhere where we can be alone, and not be around anyone.

4. Depression makes it so hard to get ready in the morning.

From the second I open my eyes after hearing the alarm blaring bright and early at 7 a.m., I’m hit with constant and overwhelming thoughts of how dreadful life is, how much easier it is to just “give up” and let the depression take control of me. These thoughts can sometimes be even worse when they lead to anxiety, which can then come back and worsen the depression, creating a vicious cycle.

5. Depression makes us feel guilty for being not genuine to our friends and family.

We go around wearing this fake smile and forcing laughter and forcing ourselves to have conversations with people when we’d rather be in our bed sleeping. This makes us feel guilty because smiling and laughter should never have to be forced or faked, it should be something we can just do, but depression makes it hard.

6. Depression makes us unable to enjoy or find joy in things that we used to.

It makes watching our favorite show on Netflix just turn to background noise for the intrusive thoughts running through our heads. It makes going to parties with our best friends from our childhood seem so overwhelming, which just reminds of us how much we didn’t want to come out in the first place. It makes reading books from our favorite author seem like just another waste of time. Depression takes the light from our lives, but we still put on a pretty face and pretend everything is good.

Depression can be a silent illness. It turns all the parts of our lives that were ever enjoyable into the most boring and unenjoyable things in the world.

Depression is eating away at the very center of our being to the point where we don’t want to fight it any more.

Depression eats away at us, and just because you cannot see it on the outside doesn’t mean we’re not hurting on the inside. It’s time to stop assuming that just because everything about us seems fine, we are all good. No one can ever understand how much harder life is with depression until they experience it themselves.

Photo by Motoki Tonn on Unsplash

Originally published: April 9, 2019
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