Depression is not a feeling or a temporary emotion that makes you sulk about your present situation. But it is a mental disorder which makes you alienate both from yourself and the world. It shatters the bond that you share with your mind and soul, in a way that the negative thoughts start controlling the way you look at the world and those around you.
Since depression is a mood disorder it makes everything seem gloomy, threatening and impossible to you. Even the simple daily chores might seem difficult to carry out. Meeting people may give shivers down the spine and the close-knit that you had with your tribe might seem to have fade out. Not every person who is depressed will have the same symptoms but they do share one thing in common that is isolating themselves from their loved ones. This happens mainly because they find themselves unworthy of being loved, receiving care and venting out their emotions to.
People Often Mask Depression under their Smile:
“Sometimes the prettiest smiles conceal the biggest lies” as studies have found that those who are always happy and chirpy can struggle with depression too. Such people often mask depression under their smile as they don’t want to ruin their cool image among their peers and neither do they want to be laughed upon. Youngsters suffering from depression think of it as a disease which will make others turn their backs to and leave a bad impression on their loved ones for being too fragile and sensitive.
Many youngsters often feel embarrassed to talk about depression as they think they may appear to be the weaker links of the society and will be looked down as incompetent, vulnerable and self-destructive beings.
Therefore, such individuals become the prisoner of their thoughts and confine themselves in the hollows of the dark, leaving no place for the light to seep in as they are too scared to be judged and to be called as ‘attention seekers’.
Confusing Loneliness with Depression:
In several types of research, it has been found that those suffering from loneliness often label it as depression. While loneliness can be a symptom of depression but there is a huge difference between the two.
In depression people generally isolate themselves from others, they don’t engage in activities they enjoy doing earlier. They can’t cherish the time spent with their loved ones as they feel numb and have a persistent feeling of retreating to their dungeon of thoughts in order to find an answer.
However, loneliness is when you are tucked in your bed with your phone by your side, expecting a call from your friend who would invite you to a party or just wanting someone to be present at that moment in order to break that haunting silence.
Characteristics that define whether a Person is suffering from Depression or Loneliness:
- Depression can be defined as an abnormal emotional state or mental disorder that affects how a person feels, thinks and behaves. It generally reflects on their behavioural patterns as they build walls around them that seem to be inescapable.
While loneliness is an absence of intimacy which leaves people with a void. Sadness, isolation and rejection are often linked with loneliness.
- Clinical depression is a mental illness which disrupts your life and the way you perceive things. A depressed person can’t find happiness in the things they cherished before. They are always surrounded by a pool of sadness that paints their life in blues.
However, loneliness is the feeling of emptiness either on being left alone or not finding a meaningful connection when surrounded by people.
- Depression is a mental illness that doesn’t necessarily requires a grave event, situation, a loss or change to hit you rock bottom as it can occur in the absence of such circumstances.
While loneliness can arise due to an unexpected change, loss or weakening of a close relationship. A person can be lonely for a short period of time depending on the situation but it can be long-term too which can lead to chronic loneliness that can be equally disturbing.
- Clinical depression sucks the energy, motivation and the ability to experience joy. For people suffering from depression, it’s hard to open up, trust people and engage in a heart-to-heart conversation. And when they do so, they easily break down as they feel nobody can understand the chaos going in their mind. It leaves them feeling hopeless, worthless and suicidal.
On the other hand, loneliness can be cured by breaking social barriers, a warm company, a desired social connection and support can work well to revive lonely people.
Major Symptoms of Depression:
If you are not doing well lately and want to know whether it could be a warning or sign of depression then check out the most common symptoms related to depression. To be diagnosed with depression a person needs to have at least five of the symptoms listed below, for a continual duration of at least two weeks or so.
- Having a depressed or irritable mood most of the time.
- Loss of interest in people, activity or things that gave immense happiness before.
- A sudden change in weight, appetite and behaviour.
- Abnormal sleep patterns, disturbance in falling asleep or sleeping too much.
- Feeling tired, sluggish and restless most of the times.
- Lack of confidence, low energy levels and sex drive.
- Finding your existence as unworthy, inappreciable and worthless in the society.
- Feeling hopeless, undesirable and guilty most of the times.
- Unable to concentrate or focus, loss of creativity and the ability to make petty decisions by yourself, during most days.
- Finding no meaning and purpose in life and the worse – having suicidal thoughts about ending your life.
Since the symptoms of depression may vary from person-to-person it is advised to use this only as a guideline and before jumping to any conclusion do seek help from a mental health professional.