So, you had plans to spend time with a friend but realized last minute that you weren’t quite feeling up for it. You felt bad about having to bail, but you made the best call for yourself, opting to stay home and get some rest. The problem is that what you got from that evening was the opposite – a sleepless night filled with anxious thoughts about what your friend must think of you now. Are they upset with me? You wonder. Hopefully, they’ll ask to get together another time. If only they understood why I backed out and what it’s like to battle this depression daily.
Does any of this sound familiar? How many nights have you spent enduring racing thoughts all night only to wake up and go through the motions all over again? Your lack of sleep and normal appetite is starting to make you feel like a zombie. And you do feel a bit dead inside, but it’s not just because of the sadness.
Depression is so much more than feeling gloomy. Instead, it’s the unrelenting mental and physical impacts of depression that loom over you like dark clouds. The quality of your life is significantly affected when you’re underneath a storm that never parts.
It’s important to recognize the many other ways depression impacts you to get the help you need. Here are five ways depression affects your quality of life.
Depression Impacts Appetite
One of the most common side effects of depression is a change in appetite. You may experience an increase in your food consumption, or you may begin to eat less. Both are problematic when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. If you’re eating too much, you could be putting yourself at risk for heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. If you’re eating too little, this could lead to malnutrition and other health problems.
Depression Impacts Sleep
It’s hard enough for the average person to get a good night’s rest when they’re not battling a mental illness. Depression can lead to insomnia and trigger anxious thoughts that keep you up at night. When you aren’t sleeping well, your mood tends to be affected even more, and it can be difficult to function at your best.
Depression Impacts Clarity of Mind
Are your thoughts always cloudy and difficult to concentrate on? When you aren’t thinking clearly, it’s hard to make good decisions, and your quality of life starts to suffer. Feeling lethargic and unmotivated once you drag yourself of bed can impact your ability to maintain a job, too. Everything from relationships, financial issues, and health can all be affected by depression and the constant worry and rumination that goes along with it.
Depression Can Cause Physical Pain
The mind and body are interconnected, and your mental health can impact your physical health in many ways. Sadness can contribute to acute and chronic pain, just as physical suffering can. The neurotransmitters that influence pain and mood, such as serotonin and norepinephrine, have a more complicated relationship than cause-and-effect. Serotonin and norepinephrine dysregulation is linked to both depression and physical pain.
Depression Impacts Relationships
When you aren’t feeling your best, it’s hard to maintain relationships, healthy communication, and an interest in sex. You may feel like you no longer have any friends because they’ve all stopped reaching out. They must realize I’m not worth their time, you think to yourself. After all, you’re dealing with all these awful symptoms, and these symptoms make it difficult to be the best version of yourself. You may even begin to believe that you don’t deserve friends or love because you feel like a burden on everyone around you. This is certainly not the case.
Depression impacts your quality of life in several ways, from appetite and sleep issues to feelings of hopelessness and isolation. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, check in with a doctor. The sooner depression is detected, the sooner you can get back to living your best life.