4 Things Depression-Symptom Checklists Don’t Tell You

By Nicholas Padiak
Chicago Tribune

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) When 350 million people have an illness, in this case, depression, you also are likely surrounded by at least a few people who do know what you’re going through. Nicholas Padiak who suffers from depression shares his thoughts on how he keeps his mental health in check.

Chicago Tribune

Let’s just get this out of the way up top: I have depression.

That doesn’t mean that I’m weeping inconsolably as I write this. Or that I need an emergency visit from Clarence Odbody, AS2.

And it doesn’t mean that I’m just a sad guy.

It means that I have a diagnosable illness recognized by the medical profession and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) that affects my life every day, just as it does about 350 million other people in the world, according to the World Health Organization.

There are handy guides all over the internet that provide checklists of symptoms. Here’s a little taste of what NIMH lists on its website:

-Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” mood.

-Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism.

-Feelings of guilt, worthlessness or helplessness.

The list goes on, and it’s very helpful.

But here’s the thing about those symptom checklists: They leave out a few of the nasty little surprises that this jerk of an illness has in store for you.

I’m here to tell you a few things about depression that you may not realize.

1. You’re not the only one.
We all like to think that no one has ever felt the way we’ve felt in the history of the world, even though if you watch any John Hughes movie, you’ll find that this is not the case.

And this is definitely what people struggling with depression think. When you’re depressed, you feel unbelievably terrible. You might not want to get out of bed. You might have a tough time concentrating. You might not want to eat. You might feel restless. You may even have actual, physical aches and pains. Surely, no one could have ever felt as low and empty as you do now, right?

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