Hands down, depression sucks.
Maybe you’re reading this because you’re dealing with depression - or you’re trying to research for a friend or family member.
Either way, it’s important to understand how severely depression can impact your life.
But there’s still hope:
Even though depression isn’t pleasant, there are ways to deal with depression effectively.
And if you can get through this, then you’ll become a stronger, more confident person in the long run.
So here’s 11 reasons why depression sucks - and how to fix them.
Note: Depression isn't easy to manage - and what works for one person, won't work for everyone!
But these are the strategies and techniques that personally worked for me...
11 Reasons Why Depression Sucks And How To Combat Each One
1. Problems At Work
Depression makes it very hard to work.
And sometimes, your job may be the reason you feel depressed in the first place, especially if you don’t find it very fulfilling.
For example, did you know that manual laborers are 1.46 times more likely to commit suicide than average?
The truth is, when you’re feeling fatigued, tired, low energy and constantly anxious, it’s going to be hard to advance in your career and function day to day.
This is especially true because modern day jobs can be so mentally demanding.
Here’s how to stop depression damaging your career:
- Speak to your boss and explain what you’re going through
- Practice relaxation techniques after work
- Don’t push yourself too hard - depression and stress is a sign that you may need some time off
- Take a break from work - even just a few days can help
- If you’re really struggling, consider changing your career (see this guide to stress leave)
- Look through your employment contract and see what it says about medical leave
2. It Makes You Feel Drained
Drained. Tired. Exhausted.
These are just some of the physical symptoms of depression.
Sometimes you might even feel a little bit achy and like you’re lacking energy.
And even though you want to get out and do things, your body feels too tired.
You may find yourself sleeping more too.
How to stop depression making you feel physically tired:
- Try to avoid comfort eating and binging if you can
- Avoid junk food - it can make your depression worse
- Try to replace junk food with healthier, nutritious foods
- Avoid caffeine - it can cause even more anxiety and worry
- Get a reliable sleeping pattern - this is a big part of your recovery
- Do some exercise: Whilst you might not feel like moving much, when your body is active, you feel better, giving you more energy to keep going
3. Depression Is Very Unpredictable
You never know when depression is going to strike.
Some days you’ll feel fine.
...But some days you may feel totally off.
Some people struggle with depression their whole life.
In fact, I’ve experienced this personally.
But most of the time I can manage it well, to the point where it doesn’t really affect me any more.
So how you can solve the unpredictability of depression?
- Regularly monitor how you feel - a mood diary is perfect for this
- Avoid sugary foods that can make your mood spike and then fall - because of the dramatic changes in blood sugar
- Be conscious of bad habits slowly taking over - such as missing out on sleep, not taking care of yourself or working too much
- Practice relaxation techniques on a daily basis: this could be meditating, exercising or breathing exercises
Basically, you want to stay on track every single day:
A tiny 1% improvement every single can lead to HUGE positive changes in your life.
And yes, you will have a bad run sometimes but developing good habits stops your depression from being so unpredictable.
4. You Make Bad Decisions
If you’re not in the right headspace, you can find yourself making poor decisions.
Let’s say you’re feeling down and too upset to go socialise.
This might lead you to:
- Skip a day off work
- Eat bad food
- Consume alcohol (which can make depression worse)
- Avoid seeing your friends
- Struggle to maintain your closest relationships
All of these are decisions you make.
But when your mind is clouded with depression, you may struggle to think clearly.
So what can you do to stay on track?
- Consider what’s best for you in the long run, rather than taking the easy option because you’re feeling down right now (you’ll thank yourself later)
- Find someone else you trust to guide your decisions - this could be a close friend or a family member
- Ask yourself - what’s the best thing I could do right now?
- Remind yourself that depression is temporary - and it’s not going to last - therefore you need to make decisions that are beneficial for your future self
- Even though it’s challenging, practice self-discipline - every time you make the right decision, you’ll boost your self-esteem and feel better about yourself
5. You Feel Really Tired
Your sleeping patterns and your mood are closely tied.
This isn’t something to be taken lightly:
When you don’t sleep properly, it can totally sabotage how you feel the next day.
You’ll wake up later
You’ll feel tired
You won’t have the energy you need to be the best version of yourself
Your brain needs sleep to create a hormonal balance
Maintaining a healthy level of sleep is essential.
But if you’re worried about something, you may find yourself staying up all night and struggling to switch off.
So it’s important to practice better sleep hygiene. This includes:
Going to sleep earlier (before 11pm ideally)
Wake up and go to sleep at a regular time
Avoid electronic devices for at least 1 hour before you sleep
Sleep in a quiet, cool environment (wear earplugs if you need to)
Turn on the blue light filter on your phone
Aim for 6 - 9 hours of sleep per night - that’s supposed to be the optimal amount of time
Sleep is a time for healing your body and mind.
So when you optimise your sleeping patterns, you’ll tend to feel much better the next day.
6. The Anxiety
Depression doesn’t just arrive by itself.
It can trigger all kinds of strange changes in how you feel.
And one of the worst side effects of this is anxiety.
You may feel like everything is in chaos.
You might even feel scared of the future, and go into panic mode when you consider all the things that could possibly go wrong.
But this is just anxiety playing tricks on you.
It’s not a real threat.
In fact, one study even proves that 85% of what we worry about never even happens.
Crazy, isn’t it?
And this creates a negative pattern - because your depression triggers anxiety, which in turn fuels more depression.
So you need a way to break the cycle.
There’s no magic pill when it comes to managing anxiety. But here’s what works for me:
Ask yourself: What are you grateful for right now?
Use breathing exercises to practice calming yourself down
Figure out some meditation exercises that you enjoy
Try some chakra mantras to clear your negative energy
The trick with anxiety is to focus on achieving total peace of mind.
When you can calm yourself and ground your emotions, then you’ll overcome your anxiety because you’re not longer bombarded with the worries and stresses that were previously haunting you.
7. Guilt And Shame
This is one of biggest reasons why depression sucks.
With depression, you get these feelings of guilt and shame that hang over you like a monkey on your back.
In fact, all the bad things you’ve ever done kind of come back to haunt you.
Even things you didn’t think were bad at the time, tend to come back around and haunt you as memories.
You may even find yourself confessing to people and trying to rationalise what you’ve done, looking for their validation as a way of getting over your guilt.
So what can you do about those feelings of guilt?
- Don’t be too hard on yourself
- Consider writing in a journal to express and evaluate how you’re feeling
- Find some ways to distract yourself
- Spend time with your friends and family, to boost your mood and lift you out of your guilt
- Do something that boosts your self-esteem - volunteer work is a great way to feel good again
8. Your Appetite Goes
This study actually found that depression has a radical impact on your appetite.
But people react in 2 ways:
For some it increases appetite, whilst others experience a decrease in appetite.
With changes in your appetite, you may discover that you experience weight loss/gain too.
So how can you combat this?
- If your appetite is low, start with small things like blueberries or strawberries
- Drink plenty of water. Your brain actually functions better when it’s hydrated
- You might find it’s easier to consumer the calories via a smoothie instead
- Avoid binging by eating nutritious, filling foods that nourish your body
9. It’s Hard To Concentrate
When you’re feeling low, it’s hard to focus.
And your mind often feels like it can’t concentrate properly.
So getting work done whilst you’re depressed isn’t easy.
You may find it extremely difficult to be productive.
I know I spent many days moping around, laying in bed and wondering when my depression would finally clear.
So how can you be more productive and concentrate better?
Plan out your schedule for the day (but don’t be too hard on yourself)
Set some goals along the way - this will increase your self-esteem as you achieve them
Focus on moving forward and making progress everyday, even if it’s small
Drink plenty of water (water is scientifically proven to help you focus)
Take small steps - and don’t try to do everything all at once
10. Some Of Your Closest Friends Won’t Understand It
Some people have never experienced depression.
And they can’t empathise with what you’re going through.
It’s not like when you break an arm or have some physical scars to show someone - so when they can’t see what’s going on inside your mind, they can’t see how bad you’re really feeling.
What to do:
If they don’t understand how you’re feeling, they’re not a bad person! So don’t let yourself get angry at someone you care about
Speak to someone who does understand you - a medical professional with experience with depression will understand what you’re going through
If someone does blame you for feeling depressed, don’t let it get to you. Move on and keep making positive changes in your life
11. Your Confidence Goes
When you’re hit with the guilt, shame and sadness of depression, you might feel like your self-worth is down.
Depression hurts your confidence.
And when we’re going through it, we feel weak, vulnerable and afraid of the future.
But there are still ways to improve your self-esteem, such as:
- Remind yourself of what you’re grateful for - this is an empowering way to realise how good your life really is
- Set small goals and achieve them
- Read some self development books (here’s a useful list of stress related books)
- Partake in some sports - personally I love playing football. When you’re playing with a team and seeing your own skills improve, you often feel better about yourself
- Take care of your hygiene - it’s easy to let this slip whilst you’re battling with depression
- Watch something inspirational - such as an interesting documentary or YouTube video
So yes, depression sucks.
And I’ve listed 11 reasons why it does.
However, as I’ve demonstrated, there’s always hope.
And there’s always something that can be done to improve your mood.
Whilst depression may feel like it’s never going to end, it will pass quicker than you think.
All you need is a bit of patience and the determination to not let it beat you.
Keep making positive changes in your life (as I’ve listed in each of the points above) and you’ll be surprised by how quickly you move on.
It’s also important to use your experiences of depression as a learning point.
It’s not pleasant. We all know that.
But it can make you a stronger, smarter person with more life experience - plus it’ll force you to make some important changes in your life that could lead to better things.
So keep going and never let depression defeat you!