Why Depression Makes You So Damn Tired All The Time
Fatigue, like stress and busyness, has become a default state for many people. The feeling, characterized by extreme tiredness and low energy, usually occurs after an especially mentally, emotionally or physically draining experience.
But its not always temporary or circumstantial. Fatigue can also be a symptom of a bigger issue, like depression. In fact, fatigue occurs in over 90 percent of people living with the mental health condition, according to 2018 data.
For someone to have depression, not just general fatigue, several of these symptoms need to be present most days, for most of the day, for at least two weeks, said Don Mordecai, a psychiatrist and the national leader for mental health and wellness at Kaiser Permanente.
Part of the reason depression and debilitating fatigue go hand in hand is because depression affects neurotransmitters associated with alertness and the reward system, Mordecai said. That means the illness physiologically has an impact on your energy levels.
Another reason is that depression negatively affects sleep, whether its difficulty falling asleep, trouble staying asleep, waking up too early or just not sleeping as deeply, said Sari Chait, a clinical psychologist based in Massachusetts.
People with depression who push themselves to get through their day can, in turn, experience more fatigue, which can then make them feel even more depressed, and the cycle keeps going.
– Sari Chait, clinical psychologist
What Illnesses Happen With Depression
Itâs common for people to have other medical or mental health problems along with depression, such as anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, phobias, substance use disorders, and eating disorders. If you or a loved one has symptoms of depression or another mental illness, talk to your doctor. Treatments can help.
What If I Feel Depressed
Some sad feelings go on for too long, hurt too deeply, and make it hard to enjoy things. This deep sadness is called depression. People of any age can feel depressed even kids.
Kids might feel depressed if they have been sad or lonely for a long time, or if they have had too much stress or hardship. Kids might feel depressed if they are apart from people they love. Or if their family is going through hard times. Or if a loved one has died.
Kids who feel depressed may need extra help to feel better. If you feel depressed, or if you have sad feelings that will not go away, talk about it with an adult you trust. You could tell a parent, relative, doctor, teacher, counselor, or coach. They can make sure you get the help you need to feel better. Some kids talk to a therapist when they have sad feelings that are hard to cope with. This helps a lot.
There is always somebody to talk to when you are sad or depressed. You feel better when someone knows what you’re going through. The other person can do things to make the situation better, too.
It helps to talk about what’s wrong, but be sure to talk together about good things, too. Paying attention to the good stuff can make you feel more hopeful. That really matters when youre feeling sad or depressed.
Recommended Reading: How To Get Over Depression
You Have Been Overindulging
Many people dont know that not taking care of our bodies and overindulging can lead to depression.
New research is showing the connection between the brain and the stomach and they are discovering that when the stomach is sick, the brain becomes ill.
Have you ever noticed how, if you spend a weekend overindulging on really bad food, or you eat something that doesnt agree with you, you find yourself feeling not quite yourself. Maybe a little bit more down than usual or flat out depressed?
This is most likely because your tummy flora is off and its causing a short-term chemical imbalance in your brain which could be affecting your mood.
How about after a night of drinking? Do you find yourself feeling depressed the next day, not wanting to go to work or hang out with your friends? Did you know that drugs and alcohol can both lead to short term depression?
Alcohol is a natural depressant, which is why it chills us out at the end of a long day. But too much alcohol depresses the nervous system and even after we have stopped drinking it stays in our bodies for hours and can cause depression.
It is important that we take care of ourselves every day. Eat right and drink moderately. One thing my doctor recommended was a daily probiotic to help me manage my moods. I know when my tummy is good, my head is good.
Spend Some Time In The Sun
Have you tried going outside? can sound like something a well-meaning loved one with no real knowledge of mood disorders might say. Yet while sunlight wont completely cure feelings of sadness or depression, regular sun exposure can make a difference for both physical and mental well-being.
Experts believe sunlight prompts your brain to . When you have lower levels of this hormone in your system, youre more likely to feel depressed, especially as fall and winter roll around. Spending more time in the sun, then, can increase serotonin and potentially relieve sadness.
Exercise can also offer some mood-boosting benefits , so if you feel up to it, combine your sun exposure with a walk around your neighborhood or in your favorite park.
Cant get outside easily? Little sun to speak of? Light therapy with a SAD lamp can help you get some artificial sun that still offers very real benefits.
Coping strategies wont always help relieve sadness. If nothing seems to help you find relief, it may be time to talk to a therapist or other healthcare professional.
Professional support is always recommended when symptoms:
- go away and come back regularly or continue to get worse
- begin to affect daily life and relationships
- keep you from taking care of responsibilities
- show up in physical ways appetite or sleep changes, unexplained aches and pains
You May Like: How To Cure Depression With Food
Ways You Can Look After Yourself
If youre depressed, there are steps you can take to lift your mood and help your recovery. These steps can help if youve been depressed in the past and want to stay well.
- Talk about how youre feeling. Talking to someone you trust, or finding peer support, can help you feel better and less alone.
- Eat well. A healthy diet can lift your mood and maintain your mental health.
- Stay physically active. Exercise may feel like the last thing you want to do, but it can ease the symptoms of depression. Research suggests it may be as effective as antidepressants in helping you feel better.
- Spend time in nature. Research shows that being in nature can make us feel happier, feel our lives are more worthwhile, and reduce our levels of depression
- Avoid cigarettes and alcohol. They may feel like theyre helping at first, but they make things worse in the long run.
- Try talking therapy to stay well. NICE guidelines recommend CBT or mindfulness-based cognitive therapy if youve been depressed in the past.
Risk Factors That Can Make You More Vulnerable
Depression most often results from a combination of factors, rather than one single cause. For example, if you went through a divorce, were diagnosed with a serious medical condition, or lost your job, the stress could prompt you to start drinking more, which in turn could cause you to withdraw from family and friends. Those factors combined could then trigger depression.
The following are examples of risk factors that can make you more susceptible:
Loneliness and isolation. Theres a strong relationship between loneliness and depression. Not only can lack of social support heighten your risk, but having depression can cause you to withdraw from others, exacerbating feelings of isolation. Having close friends or family to talk to can help you maintain perspective on your issues and avoid having to deal with problems alone.
. While a network of strong and supportive relationships can be crucial to good mental health, troubled, unhappy, or abusive relationships can have the opposite effect and increase your risk for depression.
Recent stressful life experiences. Major life changes, such as a bereavement, divorce, unemployment, or financial problems can often bring overwhelming levels of stress and increase your risk of developing depression.
Chronic illness or pain. Unmanaged pain or being diagnosed with a serious illness, such as cancer, heart disease, or diabetes, can trigger feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.
Don’t Miss: Am I Lazy Or Depressed Test
‘selfish’ Things People Don’t Realize You’re Doing Because You’re Depressed
When you live with depression, you often become aware of the harmful and unfair labels given to those who are struggling. Labels like lazy or attention-seeking or perhaps more commonly: selfish.
Maybe you cancel on plans because youre struggling so much, you cant even get out of bed. Maybe you dont want to have kids, and your loved ones think you are depriving them. Or maybe your depression makes you unable to help out with household chores.
If you struggle with a selfish manifestation of depression, youre not alone. The only way we can set the record straight about selfish things people do because of depression is to talk about it because at the end of the day, these things arent really driven by being selfish. Sometimes we need to put ourselves first before we can be there for others, and theres nothing wrong with that.
To open up this discussion, we asked our Mighty community to explain one selfish thing depression makes them do.
Heres what our community shared with us:
Can Depression Be A Symptom Of Other Mental Health Problems
Depression can be a part of several mental health problems, such as:
If feelings of low mood or suicidal thoughts are the reason you first speak to your doctor about your mental health, your GP might offer you treatment for depression without realising that you are also experiencing other symptoms.
If you think you’re experiencing other symptoms, you can talk to your doctor about this to make sure you’re getting the right treatment to help you. See our pages on seeking help for a mental health problem for information on how to make sure your voice is heard, and what you can do if you’re not happy with your doctor.
Recommended Reading: Things To Never Say To Someone With Anxiety And Depression
It Could Be The Time Of Year
Every year many of us are affected by something called Seasonal Affective Disorder .
People who are struggling with SAD are people whose mood changes with the seasons. For many people, SAD happens during the long winter months. The cold weather and limited sunshine can have a debilitating effect on a persons mental health.
SAD can be hard to recognize and it can progressively get worse as the season goes on. Fortunately, there are ways to deal with SAD. Light therapy is a great way to help with SAD. As is vitamin D. Or a trip to Jamaica
Talk to your doctor about managing your SAD. You will be glad you did.
Different Types Of Depression
Your doctor may diagnose you with depression and say that its mild, moderate or severe depending on your symptoms and how severe they are. Or you may be diagnosed with a specific type of depression, such as:
- dysthymia mild depression that lasts for several years
- seasonal affective disorder depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern
- postnatal depression depression that many parents experience after having a baby. Some people experience antenatal depression during pregnancy.
Recommended Reading: How Long Does Postnatal Depression Last
Why Am I Always Depressed How To Be Happy Again
Depression can be a tricky beast. It usually creeps in slowly, so by the time you’ve realized it’s upon you, you feel like it’s about to consume you. Anyone who has experienced depression in the past or who goes through bouts of depression currently will tell you how tough it is to navigate symptoms.
“Talking to a mental health professional offers you an opportunity to talk with someone who can guide you on ways to improve and manage your depression symptoms.”
Sometimes it can be difficult to determine why you are feeling depressed. The cause of depression is varied, as is the cure. If you’re wondering, “Why am I always depressed?” youre not alone. We’ve developed a list of possible depression causes, along with suggestions about strategies you may consider using to reclaim your life from deep depression and start feeling like yourself again.
Causes Of Depression
There is no single cause for depression and a depression diagnosis depends on a combination of dynamics such as a person’s environmental conditions, as well as their genetic make-up. That said, doctors consider several factors to determine a diagnosis of depression. A few examples of these factors include:
- History of depression in the family
- History of other mental health diagnoses
- Hormone changes
- History of experiencing a traumatic event
- The use of medications
- Substance use or abuse, past or present
What Does Depression Really Feel Like?
What Is Focused Meditation
Meditation is the practice of becoming self-aware through breath and attention to connect the mind, body, and spirit.Meditation as a whole can change the structure and function of our brain. That being said, focused meditation or a guided meditation for focus is by far the best one. Meditation for focus and concentration can come in different forms. Experienced meditators use the following:
- Mindfulness this meditation involves us to be focusing on your breath and observing thoughts. This allows us to focus on our feelings without becoming too absorbed in them.
- Concentrative a meditation that gets us to focus on a particular point be it a word, breath, object, or a point in the space youre meditating. This is meant for us to pay attention to that point and prevent our minds from getting distracted.
- Moving this meditation involves gets us to focus on slow and repetitive movements similar to yoga or tai chi. The goal is again to be focusing on your breath while relaxing your body and mind with the movements.
Focused meditation, also known as concentrative meditation, is the practice of meditating and bringing your attention to one single object. This object can be something practical and tangible, such as a mandala painting or a candle flame. It can also be something abstract, such as a phrase or a sound .
Recommended Reading: Is Zoning Out A Symptom Of Depression
Dealing With Depression And Loneliness
No matter how many people are around you or in your life, depression can still bring loneliness. Try these tips to reconnect and break free of the isolation of depression.
Everyone feels lonely from time to time, but for some, loneliness comes far too often. Feeling lonely can plague many people including the elderly, people who are isolated, and those with depression with symptoms such as sadness, isolation, and withdrawal. Loneliness can strike a person who lives alone or someone who lives in a house filled with people. Loneliness is subjective, says Louise Hawkley, PhD, a research associate in the psychology department at the University of Chicago. You cant argue with someone who says theyre lonely.
Although depression doesnt always lead to loneliness, feeling lonely is often a predictor of depression one year or even two years later, and it certainly leads to sadness, Dr. Hawkley says. Freeing yourself of feelings like being isolated by depression is part of the healing process.
How to Fight Depression and Loneliness
Feelings of loneliness dont have to be constant to call for action, but you will need to give yourself a push to get back into the thick of life and re-engage with others to start feeling better. These strategies for fighting depression and loneliness can help:
Accept It As A Feeling
Dont let yourself fall into the trap of believing that loneliness is forever. You might feel lonely today, this week, or even this month, but it doesnt mean you are alone or that you have no one who cares for you.
Like all feelings, loneliness is impermanent and it does not define who you are.
Accept that you feel lonely, then focus on moving forward.
Recommended Reading: Lack Of Sleep Causes Depression
Whats The Difference Between Sadness And Depression
Depression is about being sad, surebut its more than that. Depression is a mental illness that involves a lot of symptoms, like feeling exhausted all the time, losing interest in activities you normally enjoy, or thoughts of death and suicide. Episodes of depression last at least 2 weeks at a time. They can be triggered by a sad event or they can seemingly come of out of nowhere.
When To See A Doctor
Those who are experiencing symptoms of depression should seek medical assistance. Depression can worsen without treatment and affect a persons quality of life.
A family doctor or mental health professional will discuss treatment options to help the person manage their depression and carry on with daily life.
In severe cases, depression can lead to thoughts of suicide or physically harming oneself.
Any suicidal thoughts or statements about not wanting to live should be taken seriously. In times of crisis, a person should seek help from a hospital emergency department.
Help is also available from the National Suicide Prevention Helpline by calling 1-800-273-TALK , or visiting the Helplines website.
Read Also: Who Do You Go To For Depression