Depression is more than just being sad, it is a mental health mood disorder that causes a persistent, debilitating feeling of sadness, loss of interest and can affect every aspect of your daily life. Also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it is the second leading cause of disability across the globe.
Depression affects how you feel, think, and behave. It can impact your quality of life, your work, and your close relationships. There is no cure for depression, but you can receive treatment and live a fulfilled and valuable life.
Depression & Quality of Life
Depression can greatly impact a person’s quality of life, due to some of the following symptoms:
- Deep feelings of emptiness, hopelessness, or sadness
- Angry outbursts, frustration or irritability with those around you
- Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities (sex, hobbies, sports, etc.)
- Slowed thinking, body movements or speaking
- Reduced appetite and weight loss OR increased cravings and weight gain
- Lack of energy and tiredness
- Insomnia OR sleeping too much
- Trouble thinking or making decisions
- Memory loss
- Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches
- Frequent thoughts of death or suicidal ideations
These symptoms can lead to chronic physical discomfort, such as aches, pains, headaches, cramps, and digestive problems. Depression affects an estimated 16 million Americans (7% of the population). It can strike at any time, but often first appears during the late teens to mid-20s. Untreated, it can impact your quality of life for decades.
When Depression Shows Up At Work
Many symptoms of depression above can have a negative impact on your work performance. From irritability to trouble concentrating, you may feel too depressed to work some days.
Depression contributes to presenteeism. This is a term that means you may present at work, but you’re not engaged in the work you should be doing. On heavier days, depression can lead to absenteeism, or entirely missing days of work. Over time, this can adversely impact multiple areas of your performance: focus and decision making, time management, completing physical tasks, social interactions, and collaborative communication. Do you experience any of these symptoms?
- Withdraw from the team
- Show indifference
- Put things off or miss deadlines
- Seem ‘scatter-brained’ or absentminded often
- Lack of confidence in presentations/performance
- Procrastination/slowed productivity
- Late to work often, extra fatigued on the clock, workplace accidents
- A drastic change in appearance
- Strained colleague relationships
- Low motivation
Depression may be affecting your ability to work. Untreated depression can be holding you back, leading to job losses, premature retirement, lower earnings over your lifetime and missed opportunities. Dealing with depression in the workplace can be isolating and induce feelings of great shame. People with depression are protected against harassment and discrimination by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), so even though it may seem hard, resources are in place to protect you.
Outside of the workforce, is it affecting other areas of your life?
When Depression Affects Your Closest Relationships
Depression makes it difficult for people to find the energy to manage many aspects of daily life. Sometimes just getting out of bed is a challenge, so things like doing laundry, cooking, and driving to family appointments can be overwhelming. This obviously has an effect on family relations:
- Tasks can get displaced to children and resentment can form
- Stress and dysfunction from tasks not getting done
- Caregiver anger, irritability or guilt
- Conflict and misunderstandings in the family
Studies show that children of depressed parents are more likely to be depressed themselves:
- Infants with depressed mothers may cry more frequently or at a greater intensity
- Children with depressed parents may have more behavioral problems
- Kids with depressed parents are more likely to show signs of ADHD
In intimate relationships, depression in one partner can lead to:
- Differences in libido and unmet sexual needs
- Shame, resentment and guilt in communicating mental health needs
- Codependent coping patterns
If you notice your depression symptoms impacting your closest relationships that mean the most to you, there are steps to take to make your relationships more positive. Look at your sleep habits, the quality of the food you’re eating, any stressors in life adding to your symptoms, how much you’re exercising, and more. Fixing one of these imbalances can make tackling your relationships much easier.
Don’t be afraid to open up to those around you. Share details about your mental health struggles with your partner, your best friend, your parents, or all of the above. You may feel like you don’t want to burden those closest to you, but give permission to yourself to love openly and honestly and ask for what you need.
When to Get Help
Sometimes taking actions to manage your depression isn’t possible all by yourself.If you think you may hurt yourself or attempt suicide, call 911 in the U.S. or your local emergency number immediately. In the U.S., call or text 988 to reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
If you feel depressed or think you may be suffering from depression, make an appointment to see your doctor or mental health professional as soon as you can.
None of this discussion on depression is meant to scare you or make you believe you are ever a burden to the loved ones in your life. Completing daily tasks is hard, even without depression But it is possible to find treatment for your mental health and nurture the relationships around you. It is possible to get the support you need to make daily life easier.
Getting the psychiatric care you need should be easy, accessible, stress-free, and uncomplicated. The Couch was created to ensure that happens. With concierge support 24/7, accessible insurance eligibility and cost-effective options, advanced psychiatric matching, and simple scheduling, The Couch can help you get your mental health back on track and give you the tools you need to manage your depression.