Of course there are many symptoms and many ways of experiencing depression. But anhedonia (lack of interest or pleasure in doing things) is really central to depression for me.
Have you ever gone back to your childhood toys and tried to play with them, but you can’t remember why you found them fun? They just seem pointless and dumb? Depression was like that for everything. Nothing was interesting or enjoyable and I couldn’t imagine how it ever was or ever would be again. Sometimes I felt like I wasn’t even present anymore, like the person who used to be able to engage with life just wasn’t home.
It's 10.30 am, and your alarm clock has been ringing for the past 30 minutes. You slowly open your eyes, even though you really don’t want them to.
Come on, you can’t stay in bed all day again!
But your feet just don’t want to get from out under the sheets. Just like every morning there’s a shadow sitting on your chest, pressing you into bed, and hurting you so much you can’t help it but cry.
I am such a loser and nothing but a disappointment!
Your eyes, filling with tears more and more from minute to minute, are looking around your messy room. Actually you wanted to tidy up a little bit, but you were too tired after coming home from work. There’s still so much work to do.
Maybe I should just find a job that I can actually do, as dumb as I am.
As you finally manage to take your eyes off this mountain of clothes something else instantly catches them: A huge pile of cups and plates filling up the kitchen sink. Simply thinking of this unbearable task makes your hands shake. Tears start running down your face again.
I must have been a terrible human being in an earlier life to deserve this kind of abuse.
You pull your blanket over your face.
I don't want to deal with this world. At least not today. Maybe tomorrow. After three days of sleep. A deep sigh makes its way out of your throat, and it feels like a desperate message from your subconsciousness.
If someone saw me like this...
Shouldn't you at least try to get some work done today, for the sake of mum and dad? After yet another big sigh you get up.
Let's start by doing the dishes.
As you are about to finish cleaning the cups, tears are one more time running down your face.
You are doing the dishes, there are worse things in the world.
You angrily throw the kitchen towel onto the pile of clothes you should actually put into the washing mashine now. But you can't, doing the dishes took up too much of your energy. So you go back to bed and fall asleep 5 minutes later, mentally completely exhausted, feeling like your brain's just run a marathon. It's 11 am.
To answer your question: Everyone experiences depression differently. And someone who’s never suffered from them will probably never truly understand what they’re like.