The Dark Pain of Depression - Step To Health

The Dark Pain of Depression

Far from staying in bed all day crying, people with depression may appear to lead a normal life, but they don't find pleasure in the things they do and everything overwhelms them.
The Dark Pain of Depression

Last update: 28 February, 2019

Depression: the dark pain that swallows those who suffer from it. It’s like a giant, suffocating scarf that traps you, blinding you, and sending a blanket of darkness to smother you and those close to you.

There are many symptoms, which include:

  • Sadness
  • Irritability
  • Apathy and loss of interest in one’s surroundings
  • Inability to experience pleasure
  • Loss of appetite
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
  • Recurring thoughts of death or suicide…

These can last for a long time, and that’s what a person with depression feels almost every moment of each day. It’s an immense pain that puts out any source of light the sufferer may have in their life.

A portrait of a depressed woman.

Having depression doesn’t mean lying in bed crying

We all have a tendency to imagine someone who suffers with the pain of depression lying in bed all day crying. However, intense and frequent sadness is just a small part of what depression really is.

In fact, some people with depression may not experience sadness. Instead, the depression will manifest itself as authoritarian attitudes, excessive irritability, insensitivity, aggressiveness, etc. Depression sometimes shows itself through constant and intense moodiness.

According to the DSM-5 and ICD-10 diagnostic manuals, the presence of a major depression must meet more criteria than the presence of sadness or irritability. This means that while one of these two symptoms is necessary, it’s not sufficient in itself for a diagnosis of depression.

We recommend reading: 4 Common Types of Depression

A naked woman surrounded by the waves.

No one is free from this terrible illness

It could happen to any of us.

One day you may realize you’ve been having a hard time getting out of bed, your life doesn’t feel the same, nothing excites you and inside feels like nothing but turmoil.

Then you start feeling overwhelmed, everything seems to overwhelm and exhaust you. You have to force yourself to feel anything besides the inner pain that follows you like a shadow.

There are days when you feel worse and others when you feel better; emotional instability is your name. You don’t understand, you only feel tremendous anxiety which sinks you even deeper into the darkness.

You have no idea what’s going on, you don’t remember the last time you felt well, you’re empty inside. When you leave the house you can’t help but feel worse, thinking of all you need to do at work.

A depressed box-man.

But this pain will pass. You need a professional who can help you understand and make sense of your situation and help you overcome it. Psychological help is a powerful tool to heal yourself and your mind.

Anxiety and depression

We know that depression often manifests mixed with anxiety, giving rise to a comorbid anxious-depressive state that can be even more painful and confusing for those affected.

Anxiety is characterized by fear, panic, nervousness, avoidance, instability, over-stimulation, muscle tension, hyper-vigilance and the perception of immediate threat or danger.

Both depression and anxiety share symptoms like irritability, worry, poor concentration, insomnia, fatigue, psycho-motor agitation, crying, feelings of inferiority, guilt and low self-esteem.

Metaphor for understanding the pain of depression

One of the most useful metaphors for depression is the black dog. In the following video, we’ll see how depression is symbolized by the black dog that keeps growing bigger and bigger, until it becomes a shadow that envelops the lives of those suffering.

This video was made by the World Health Organization to graphically illustrate some of the day to day situations as seen from the point of view of a person suffering from the pain of depression.

If you feel like you can identify with what we’ve talked about in this article or you think you may be suffering from depression, talk to your doctor and share your concerns with the people who love you.

Look for a treatment that will help you focus your thoughts little by little so that you can start the process of healing.

Treating depression will mark a before and after in your life.

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  • Asociación Americana de Psiquiatría (APA) (2013). Manual Estadístico y Diagnóstico de los Trastornos Mentales, quinta edición (DSM-5). Washington, DC: APA.
  • National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health (2009). Depression. The treatment and management of depression in adults. London: The British Psychological Society and The Royal College of Psychiatrists.