What does depression or anxiety feel like? Is what I’m experiencing depression or just life?

Here’s a video I did a while ago before I figured out what was wrong with me. I was on a high dose of antidepressants and looking back, I was not well. But the antidepressants did help. I explain a bit in there, and I’ll explain below.

My experience of depression:

  • Whenever I was walking anywhere, especially at night, I’d feel like I was going to get jumped. Someone behind me would suddenly grab me or something. Extremely on edge.
  • I felt like I was mourning. Every bit of happiness I had would just be sucked back down into a tar pit of black. I’d laugh but then I’d be unhappy. Smile, then immediate unhappiness
  • I was soooo angry. Slow people walking down the block, someone who doesn’t use their signal light, talking in the library? I was the one who would get up and tell people to go outside if they were going to talk in the silent space. Some people aren’t bothered by this. (I believe that some of the anger issue was from being on the birth control pill).
  • I was irritable at people I love. This is one of the worst parts. It’s was the people closest to me that irritated me the most. It didn’t even have to be very irritating. But I’d yell at them.
  • Depression pushes you away from the people you are closest to. It makes you more of a downer to be around. It pushes people away.
  • It’s scary. I used to read horror books when I was a kid so that the feeling of fear made sense.
  • Buried in books. I know that not everyone who reads is depressed, but it was a huge escape for me.
  • A panic attack feels like your body is out of control. First, I’d feel my heart start racing, and when your heart rate increases like that your breathing is hard to control. Then sometimes my hands would start shaking. Sometimes it was physical for quite a while before I started freaking out mentally.
  • Worrying about unlikely situations. When I was depressed, and when I have a reaction I can start worrying about the most unlikely situations. But in my head, they seem totally probably. It’s almost impossible to doubt yourself in situations like that.
  • Constant pit in my stomach
  • My shoulders were always raised up, kind of ready for an attack or to protect myself. It would take a lot of energy to straighten up and relax my shoulders.

If you see yourself worrying about things that you probably shouldn’t really worry about, or crying over things that you probably shouldn’t be crying over, or getting mad at people you love, it’s depression/anxiety, not life. (It feels more like they just become more annoying, it doesn’t feel like it’s you at all).

Takeaway:

Life is great. You should be happy every day unless something serious is going on. When my dog passed away last year I was heart-broken. But I wasn’t as miserable as I was when I was depressed. I thought losing my dog would be the end of me. I thought that would be a good example of what being depressed is like but it’s not. Losing my dog was way easier than being depressed. Being depressed feels like there’s a poison in your soul that you’re trapped with forever. Surprisingly enough, it’s because there is poison in you. But it’s not forever.

I thought life was supposed to just kind of be. You just survive. If you feel like you’re just surviving, that’s not good enough, but it’s not your fault. Depression isn’t something you can will yourself out of. Exercise can help, (shown to reduce levels of inflammation), but it’s not your fault if you’re not happy. It’s not your fault if you get panicky or if you can’t sleep or if you sleep too much or if you’re angry all the time. Depression is awful. It’s like falling into a deep dark pit and never reaching the bottom. It’s hard to believe that something this awful could be diet related. It is. It’s not a chemical imbalance because we evolved wrong. That’s such a stupid theory. It’s your body screaming “something is WRONG”. But sometimes it comes on gradually, and because it’s so psychological, it’s hard to figure out. Get rid of the junk in your diet. Gluten and dairy are the big ones. And soy. Sometimes people feel better with just that, but it wasn’t enough for me, and if you have an autoimmune disorder it might not be enough for you either.

5 thoughts on “What does depression or anxiety feel like? Is what I’m experiencing depression or just life?

  1. Rohini says:

    Hey Mikhaila,
    Thanks so much for this post. I found your page by looking you up based on your Agenda interview. This information is incredibly useful. I had a question that I was hoping you might be able to answer based on experience. My boyfriend has a long history of depression, and he’s recently been really struggling to be in the relationship, telling me many things along the lines of him not being “good enough”, he can’t give me what I deserve, and that he feels numb/nothing. I know these are some common aspects of depression based on reading people’s experiences, but was wondering if you have any insight on relationship/love and depression, which might be elaborating on the point about pushing away people you love.
    Thanks a lot for your insights.

  2. Austin says:

    “When my dog passed away last year I was heart-broken. But I wasn’t as miserable as I was when I was depressed. I thought losing my dog would be the end of me. I thought that would be a good example of what being depressed is like but it’s not. Losing my dog was way easier than being depressed. Being depressed feels like there’s a poison in your soul that you’re trapped with forever. Surprisingly enough, it’s because there is poison in you. But it’s not forever.”

    I know that feeling. Depression for me really felt like the pain would never go away and there was no point trying to stop it. Once I was out of it I realized that wasn’t true. Bad things have happened since (like you losing your dog) but it’s definitely a different feeling. I decided to go on antidepressants a year ago and will nearly be off them (1/4th of my dose now) I think they helped, after a week or two I felt my motivation and attention span come back, I could think about my problems clearly and not feel that pit feeling in my stomach. I did things to build my confidence and generally self improve, give myself a routine and goals (before I was quite lazy and undisciplined.) Anyways I’m glad we’ve both survived our experiences and are feeling better. There is so much to enjoy in life and depression prevents you from experiencing those things.

    • I’m glad you’re feeling better too. Antidepressants really helped me as well. I’m extremely glad I’m off of them now, but for the period of time where I didn’t know what was wrong, they changed my life.

  3. Hi Mikhaila,

    My husband is a huge fan of your dad’s, and he heard your story about diet and depression and told me. I’m so, so happy you found out that diet was at the root of your symptoms. I had the exact same experience — I was diagnosed with 10 different mood disorders and cycled through 10 different medications. I accidentally discovered that diet was the cause of the majority of my symptoms, and I’ve been medication free for more than three years now. Thanks for sharing your story — you’re free to follow mine at pillstopaleo.com. 🙂

    Best wishes to you!

    Holly

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