While many people tend to describe themselves as ‘depressed’ when they feel upset, depression is so much more than just feeling sad. According to Healthline, there are various different symptoms that depression can cause. While depression is a mood disorder, some symptoms may affect your physical body and not just your mood. Some common symptoms include:
- Feelings of sadness, hopelessness and emptiness
- Feelings of anger and irritability
- Loss of interest in what you once found enjoyable
- Fatigue and boredom
- Substance abuse
- Inability to concentrate
- Digestive problems
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Reduced sexual drive
- Suicidal thoughts
Depression has the power to destroy your sense of self.
When you think about what makes up your identity, you think about the things you like and what you enjoy doing. The things you enjoy doing, your hobbies, and your job all contribute to how you define yourself and your identity. For this reason, experiencing depression can rob you of your sense of self. That is, when you are depressed, you lose interest in everything and everyone; instead, you feel overwhelming emptiness, hopelessness, and fatigue. You lose the motivation to work, to engage in the things you love to do, and to see the people you love. Ultimately, it can feel as though you have withdrawn into darkness and forgotten everything you once were.
Recovering from depression means finding yourself again.
Many people think that once you recover from depression, your life goes back to how it once was. They think that you suddenly feel the motivation to do the things you once did. When you go through depression, you lose contact with everything you loved and everything you were. Finding this connection once again can take a long time, especially if one has been in depression for years. According to Michael Friedman Ph.D., “When suffering through a depressive episode, we experience the frustration of not being able to experience things the way we’d prefer. Or we feel the helplessness that we cannot carry out basic functional behaviors like work and self-care. This may result in a hopelessness that we will never be able to feel “like ourselves”.”
How can you retain your identity?
If you think you might have depression and you feel as though you have lost your sense of self, seek treatment immediately. Getting the right treatment on time can help you reduce the time you spend feeling empty and dysfunctional. Speaking to a professional and/or using anti-depression medication will help you learn how to manage your feelings and thoughts in a better way. It is important to remember that you will retain your identity and you will feel like yourself once more. While for some it may take a longer time and it may be more difficult, it is still possible. You have all it takes to recover and come out of this stronger and happier.