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What Does Depression Feel Like?

By Mosh
Treat Mental Health
5 min read
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Key Takeaways

For many, getting treatment for depression is a medical priority – and our doctors here at Mosh wholeheartedly agree. Getting started on your mental health can be overwhelming at first, but with the following information, you’ll have a clearer perspective on what to discuss for your Mosh consultation.

What does depression feel like? 7.5% of Australians aged 16 to 85 years old know the answer to this question all too well. An estimated 1.5 million Australians have experienced some form of mood disorder, according to 2021 to 2022 data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).[1]

Mood disorders, also known as affective disorders, include disorders such as major depressive episodes, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), postpartum depression, and dysthymia (persistent depressive disorder). These disorders can be highly disruptive to daily life and function, leading to harmful thoughts that, in turn, can lead to self-harm or fatality if left untreated.

A man and woman having a friendly conversation in a kitchen about mental health.

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What is depression and what causes it?

Many of us wonder and ask, ‘What is depression?’ Is it just a deep sadness, and can it be treated?

Depression is a common but serious mood disorder that affects a large number of people of various ages.[2] A person with clinical depression will have been experiencing its symptoms continuously for at least two weeks.

As for what causes depression, both internal and external factors can contribute to the development of the disorder, though there is no known definitive cause for depression as of this writing. A health crisis or traumatic experience can lead to a major depressive episode as much as a biological predisposition to a mood disorder or a condition affecting the person’s inner biochemistry.[3]

But what does depression feel like from a clinical perspective? Depression is often characterised as prolonged sadness, but there are notable symptoms of depression. For example, a key sign of depression is a compromised ability to sleep, eat, or be productive on a daily basis.

The good news is that depression is treatable.[4] Thanks to the progress in mental health research and treatment in recent years, health platforms like Mosh are now better equipped to provide medically-backed treatments and counselling for mood disorders like depression.

What lifestyle changes happen when someone has depression?

YWhen it comes to what does depression feel like, the disorder negatively impacts our daily lives. A person experiencing depression may no longer participate in hobbies, interests, and social activities. It also often upsets our personal and professional relationships as a result of its symptoms interfering with our day-to-day functions. We may even observe increased alcohol or substance use.[5]

Regarding what are the signs of depression, the following can help you identify whether or not you should seek treatment for a possible mood disorder:

  • a persistent feeling of sadness, anxiety, or emptiness;
  • pessimism and feelings of hopelessness;
  • inability or difficulty with concentrating, remembering, and making decisions;
  • disinterest in hobbies, activities, and sexual intimacy;
  • feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and helplessness; and
  • suicidal ideation and intrusive thinking (harmful thoughts that may be acted on with self-harm).

Depression can occur at any age, though it is recognised as a leading cause of death among adolescents and young adults aged 15 to 29 years old.[6] If you believe you or a family member may be showing signs of depression or experiencing what does depression feel like, get in touch with a medical professional immediately.

(Please note that Mosh doctors are not emergency responders. Please contact crisis support services if you believe you are at risk of self-harm.)

What are some physical manifestations of depression?

You may be wondering what are the symptoms of depression that you or your loved ones should look out for.[9] Consider seeking help when you observe the following.

You are experiencing disordered eating, sleeping, or general self-care. 

One sign of depression is a downturn in personal care, often resulting from a perceived lack of self-worth or sense of motivation. If you find yourself skipping your normal self-care routines, such as eating regularly or maintaining your hygiene, you may be exhibiting symptoms of depression and need help.

Your mood swings are becoming unmanageable or overwhelming. 

A common misconception regarding what does depression feel like is that it’s a constant sadness. However, this is not entirely accurate: feelings of depression can include extreme mood swings, irritability, sudden bouts of anger or grief, and extended periods of emotional numbness or emptiness. If you’re experiencing persistently negative moods, you may need to seek counselling or therapy or take prescription medication to manage them. Talk to a doctor about your options.

Your low sense of worth is directly impacting your ability to function. 

Depression can and often does impact our productivity, as loss of motivation (or ‘will to live’) is a known symptom of the disorder. If you find yourself struggling to complete or start simple tasks that you used to have no problem with, despite having no perceived change in moods or what does depression feel like usually to you, you may be suffering from a mood disorder absent of its other, more commonly-related symptoms.

You have increasingly intrusive thoughts regarding self-harm or death. 

Intrusive thoughts are disturbing or harmful ideas that find their way into your consciousness and are difficult to ignore or push aside.[10] Intrusive thoughts include plans to commit self-harm or end one’s life. If you’re experiencing such thoughts, seek professional help immediately or alert a trusted person to do so.

Find yourself again with Mosh’s help

For people with depression, we often ask ourselves: ‘What is mental health worth?’

For some of us, it’s worth spending more time as a positive influence in our loved ones’ lives. For others, it’s worth achieving personal goals with a healthy mind and body. For others still, it means finding more reasons to get up in the morning to live another day.

At Mosh, no reason is too small to keep going. It’s why all our doctors are fully licensed and registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) – you can rest assured that your mental health is in good and trustworthy hands.

Whether it’s counselling, therapy, holistic treatments, or prescription medication that you need, our doctors endeavour to provide you with the best care possible. That’s the promise our online health platform makes to every patient who comes to us for help.

If you know what does depression feel like, know that there is strength in asking for help. Let us support you through this experience when you speak with a Mosh doctor today.

10 References


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