What Depression Feels Like

October 19, 2022

Nue Life

Nue Life

According to data from 2022, nearly 50 million Americans struggle with their mental health. More specifically, almost seven percent of Americans have had a depression diagnosis in recent years.

Depression is one mental health diagnosis that can be confusing. It can affect your emotions, cognitive abilities, and your physical health. How can you be sure about whether you’re experiencing clinical depression?

When you’re questioning a mental health diagnosis, it can help to get some clarity. Let’s talk about what depression might feel like for you and what happens in the brain to cause it. Then, we’ll talk about your options for moving onward toward better days.

What Is Depression?

You’ve probably heard someone remark that they felt depressed about experiencing an everyday inconvenience in the past. Although normalizing mental health discussions can help people speak up when they need help, diluting the meaning can confuse what depression is.

Clinical depression affects a person’s daily life. Often, the most persistent symptoms of this mental illness are low mood, hopelessness, and loss of interest. Sometimes, these symptoms can manifest sporadically. Other times, life events can spur emotional changes that cause short-term or long-term depression.

Did you know there are different types of depression? Before talking about how depression feels, let’s look at the kinds of depression people may experience. These include:

  • Major depressive disorder (MDD)
  • Persistent depressive disorder (also known as dysthymia)
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
  • Peripartum (postpartum depression)
  • Treatment-resistant depression

What Does Depression Actually Feel Like?

Your story is uniquely yours. If you’re experiencing depression, it may feel different to you than how others might feel it.

For example, some experiencing seasons of depression describe feeling like they have no way out. Others still describe it as a weight that feels almost physical. Some refer to the feeling of failure when speaking about depression, and some view it as a haunting shadow.

Why do people feel the things they do when experiencing depression? Truthfully, researchers are still studying the brain’s functioning when it comes to this mood disorder. However, one hypothesis is that disturbances in typical chemical messaging between the brain and nerve cells play a significant role in why you feel low emotions when depressed.

What Are the Symptoms of Depression?

If you’re not feeling your best, it can be challenging to determine whether you’re in a temporary rough patch or experiencing depression. Showing yourself care by looking deeper into your experience can bring you one step closer to getting the help you may need.

Let’s get familiar with how symptoms of depression might manifest. Then, we’ll talk about what causes depression and the treatment options you have for feeling better again.

Loss of Interest

One symptom of depression that affects many is a loss of interest in things they formerly loved. This symptom can look like a gradual feeling of numbness toward hobbies, family members, or loved ones.

You might also feel a lack of energy toward topics and activities that usually excite you. It might feel as if the familiar characters, settings, and events in your life have lost their color.

Changes in Appetite

You might notice depression expressing itself with physical symptoms, too. One signal to pay attention to is any change in your usual eating habits and appetite. If you feel unusually hungry or disinterested in food for an extended period, it might be time to examine what’s going on.

Speaking with a medical professional can help you determine whether your change in appetite is due to a medical condition or if it’s a somatic expression of depression or another mood disorder.

Sleep Disruptions

We’ve already discussed how depression can make impact your hunger levels and eating habits. In the same way, one expression of depression is a change in your sleep patterns.

If you’re typically someone who sleeps well through the night, you might notice yourself waking up more throughout the night or feeling restless at odd times. On the other hand, you might have an opposite experience where no amount of sleep feels like enough.

Take note of changes in your sleep. A medical or mental health professional may be able to help you discern what’s at the root of the issue.

Feelings of Hopelessness

Although some casually use the word “depressed” to describe mild feelings of disappointment jokingly, true depression goes far deeper. Many who experience short-term or long-term depression express feelings of hopelessness that seem impossible to shake.

If you’ve found yourself thinking thoughts such as, “I don’t have any more options” or “Things will never be different than they are now,” it may be time to become curious about those thoughts.

Recognizing that you feel hopeless might be overwhelming or uncomfortable. Still, coming face-to-face with your reality can be a starting point for getting the resources you need to feel hopeful again.

Negative Self-Perceptions

Another common sign of depression is feeling general negativity about yourself. You might experience this as thoughts of worthlessness or persistent low self-esteem.  

Depression can affect how you view the world and how you see yourself. If you often have negative thoughts about yourself, it can be a sign that it’s time to talk to a mental health care professional about what’s going on for you.


Although depression is known as a mood disorder, one of its lesser-known symptoms is irritability. Being unusually irritable can be a symptom of bipolar disorder and depression, so consider talking with a trained mental health professional if you’re noticing yourself feeling less patient and more temperamental than usual.

What Are the Risk Factors for Depression?

Some believe that depression is merely a chemical imbalance, but the truth of this disorder is trickier than that. Sometimes, certain risk factors can put you in a position to be predisposed to experiencing depression symptoms. Let’s walk through the common risk factors to get a better understanding.

Life Events

Let’s admit it –– some parts of life are heavy. Tragic moments and world-shattering experiences, such as divorce, child loss, and job loss, can be far too stressful to bear, leading to temporary or long-lasting depression.


You’re probably familiar with the fact that you’re prone to some medical conditions because of your family history. Similarly, your genetics impact your mental health. Asking questions about your family’s mental health history can help you understand whether this might be a prominent risk factor for you.

Current Conflict

Sometimes, situational conflict is a temporary setback that feels manageable. Other times, issues like relationship stress and financial struggles can take a toll on your mental health and may cause you to experience depressive symptoms.

Previous or Current Abuse

Abuse is always a tragedy. Whether you encountered abuse years ago or are currently a victim of abuse, it can cause you to experience some of the depression symptoms we have been discussing.

How Can I Treat Depression?

Although depression can feel isolating and hopeless, there are people who want to support you on your journey and make it their life’s goal to offer their expertise as a resource for you. Let’s explore the possible options available to you.

Talk Therapy

Speaking to a qualified therapist in talk therapy sessions might feel taboo to you, but it doesn’t have to be. In one-on-one psychotherapy sessions, you can talk honestly with a licensed mental health professional who can listen to your symptoms and help guide you as you navigate depression.

Additionally, your therapist might suggest attending depression support group therapy to connect with others who can understand your struggle.


Antidepressants can be a life-changing help for many people experiencing depression. Speaking with your doctor or a prescribing provider can help you understand the medication options that are out there and weigh the possible side effects.

Ketamine Treatment With Nue Life

Here’s the truth: SSRIs don’t work for 40% of the people who try them. If you’re ready to try something new for relief from your symptoms, consider looking into ketamine treatment.

The psychedelic properties of ketamine from Nue Life offer a unique and innovative form of depression treatment. Trying Nue Life may be the next step that helps you kick your depression to the curb.

The Bottom Line

Depression’s physical and mental symptoms can be completely overwhelming. While it can feel like an uphill battle, exploring traditional and unique treatment options can be the act of self-care that starts you on your road to healing.

Treatment at Nue Life

Nue Life believes in holistic treatment, which means that what happens before and after your ketamine experience is equally as important as the experience itself. We want to ensure you have meaningful takeaways from your experiences and help you establish positive new neural pathways.

That’s why we provide one-on-one health coaching and integration group sessions with each of our programs. We’re here to help map out the mind and body connections in your brain and help you discover the insights that lead to true healing.


Depression explained | Better Health Channel

Depression statistics 2022 | SingleCare

What causes depression? | Harvard Health

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