What is worse, in general, severe depression or …

  • Some of the signs of depression can be obvious, yet others can be more subtle and harder to discover

    You may have developed some of these signs, or symptoms, in a very short space of time recently in your life

    Maybe your depression was in reaction to; the death of a loved one who was close to you, recently being laid off from your job or your relationship has suddenly ended

    You may have also had symptoms for a lot longer than you suspect, even as far back as your childhood

    Unresolved childhood trauma, for example, can lead to depression later in life as an adult, so your symptoms may have developed slowly over many years and therefore harder to detect

    I was diagnosed with clinical depression at the age of 28 years old, yet at that time I had absolutely no idea what it was

    To my surprise, I had most of the symptoms from about the age of 15 years old, without even realising it

    I always thought that being moody, irritable and sometimes short tempered was simply part of my personality and there was nothing I could do about it

    Plus, I was a lot like my father in this way and it became obvious to me after I was diagnosed, that he had suffered with an undiagnosed depression probably his whole life

    As boys becoming men we are taught it is not acceptable to show emotion or feelings, you can’t show weakness, you have to be tough and just get on with it

    Nobody talked about the way they felt in my family, not ever!

    The best way I can answer this question for you, is to give you the symptoms that I suffered with, all the way back to my teenage years

    These with the early signs in me that I was developing depression, even before I knew anything about it

    Hopefully you can relate to some of them;

    1. I was easily irritated and very sensitive to criticism and I could get angry rather easily, if I was provoked, although I wasn’t violent in any way

    In fact, I was scared of my own shadow as a teenager and a young man, the confident exterior was all bluff

    2. I had mood swings constantly, where I could feel deeply sad and teary eyed one-minute, then irritated and defensive in another and then reasonably calm after that

    It didn’t seem to take much to set off another mood change within me

    3. I obviously developed depression around the age of 15 or 16, as my memory and concentration began to fail me at that time;

    I was an A student up until then, but I became disillusioned and lost at who I was and I ended up hating my senior years because I struggled to learn anything

    My grades dropped and I barely passed my final year, I also became distant and isolated from my classmates

    4. I found I lost interest in playing sport and socialising with friends, I became withdrawn during and after my senior year, as I felt more and more lonely

    I gave up sport, hobbies and some friendships and I didn’t care

    5. I was also lost and confused about who I was or what I should do with my future

    This lack of identity left me anxious and feeling despair more often than not; “what the hell am I supposed to do with my life for god’s sake?”

    6. I developed problems trying to sleep as well, where I could only stay asleep for around 4 ½ to 5 hours a night

    I would wake up early in the mornings with a deep sense of dread and anxiety at how I was going to survive in this way

    7. Most of the time I felt a sense of hopelessness, like things were never going to get better for me and what was the point of trying to go on

    8. Then I entered the workforce as an apprentice tradesman and I struggled to keep up with the learning required, compared to my fellow apprentices

    This caused me even more anxiety and despair

    9. I also developed a deep sense of dread, this was a terrible feeling in itself

    It felt like a deep well of pain that something terrible was about to happen to me and there was nothing I could do about it

    10. For most of my life from my teenage years onwards, my body felt heavy and sluggish and it felt like I had this thick cloud of cotton wool hanging around my head constantly dulling my thoughts

    11. My bodily movements and my thinking were slowed down and I couldn’t keep up with the demands of my work

    I was always less productive then my fellow tradesmen, sometimes my mind was even blank and I couldn’t have a single thought at all

    12. I had a new lease of energy and hope when I married the love of my life at the ripe old age of 23

    Yet all those terrible deep dark feelings followed me into the marriage, I could not escape them no matter where I went or what I did

    13. I became an increasingly angry person, even though most of it was internalised as I gritted my teeth and had a sour and bitter look on my face

    I came to resent other people and I was jealous of how they were doing fine, while I was suffering

    I even became bitter towards them and wished them harm inside my head; “why should they be happy when I am not”

    14. I was functioning so poorly that I lived my life in survival mode, I was just trying to survive each day and then collapse, then get up and do it all over again, like a robot, I wasn’t really living at all

    15. At times I experienced this deep well of overwhelming sadness, where I wanted to cry openly, but I had to hide it from others

    I had to go somewhere private for fear of humiliation or criticism for being weak and pathetic

    16. I also felt fatigued and listless a lot of the time, where I attempted to lie around and rest all weekend, desperately trying to recharge my batteries so I could just make it through the next week

    But resting didn’t help the fatigue at all

    17. At times when I was stressed at work and my depression was getting on top of me, I gave up inside and became resigned to being weak and pathetic

    I didn’t care what other people thought when I felt this way

    I turned into a zombie and went through the motions, feeling even more numb and disconnected

    18. After I had been a tradesman for several years, one of my fellow workers told me what my boss had said about me;

    My boss said I was plodding through my work and through life

    I was deeply hurt as I found this insulting and I felt vengeful towards him and even hated him inside, after all, I was very loyal to to the company

    19. This plodding through life was a very good description of how someone would have observed my depression from the outside

    Plodding like an old man in a young man’s body with no energy or zest for life

    20. My emotions were also blunted or even non-existent, most of the time I felt dull and numb to feeling anything at all

    I could still laugh and act like a clown sometimes when I was with my friends, but it was draining to me, like I was forcing myself to put on an act, a fake performance

    21. I could never shake that desperate feeling of; ” how am I going to survive when I am struggling so bad?” I felt I had no future, except blackness

    The anxiety I felt about this was intense and relentless at times and led me to feeling even more drained and fatigued, it was utterly exhausting

    22. Even being married to a wonderful, loving and caring woman could not hide how much pain and loneliness I lived with each and everyday

    23. Nearly every workday felt like a drawn out day of torture, as 8 hours felt like 15

    I couldn’t wait to get out of the place and escape how much I hated being there

    Sometimes it felt like I was suffocating slowly in prison, but of course it wasn’t my workplace at all, it was all inside of me

    I hope this gives you some valuable insight into your possible depression, if that’s the reason for your question

    It was such a huge relief to find out why I had been suffering so much, when my doctor told me it was clinical depression

    The best thing I ever did was to seek help, and not think of myself as being weak in any way

    In fact, it is a sign of strength to stand up and talk about the way you feel, there is no shame in it, depression is very common and it does not discriminate

    Some of the most successful and talented people in the world battle depression at some stage in their life

    If you suspect you have depression and anxiety, then the best thing you can do is get a correct diagnosis from a qualified medical professional

    Good luck on your journey to finding out and then making a full recovery

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