Someone experiencing Depression, whether that be directly (via a diagnosis themselves), or indirectly (via a loved one with a diagnosis), is likely to experience feelings of guilt as a result of the illness. For example, the sufferer might feel guilty for the distress they’re causing their loved ones to feel, and their loved ones might feel guilty and powerless for being unable to ‘fix’ the problem, or, in some cases, they might feel that they were some how to blame for their loved one’s depression.
Further psychological impacts of Depression include feelings of persistent sadness or, as some people report, ‘emptiness.’ People with depression might also experience feeling ‘short-tempered’ and ‘irritable.’ These negative emotions can affect concentration, which can cause productivity to suffer as a direct result. Furthermore, experiencing such negative emotions can also cause one to lack enjoyment in the things they used to love. This can cause their mood to deteriorate and could even lead to them experiencing intrusive thoughts of death/suicide.
The social impacts of depression can extend to affect both the individual with depression themselves who might experience feelings of loneliness as they withdraw from social situations, as well as their family and friends who might wonder why their loved one is suddenly ‘avoiding them.’ This can consequently lead to the breakdown of relationships in cases where social withdrawal is taken personally.
Withdrawing from social situations isn’t the only scenario that can cause the breakdown of relationships in people with depression. In fact, in some cases, continuing to partake in social activities can actually worsen an individual’s relationship with their loved ones. This is because irritability is a key symptom of depression, with this- irritability- not being something that can be turned on or off. Therefore, when attending social situations, someone struggling with depression is likely to present their irritability, which can result in arguments and conflict arising within families who might not understand the full extent of their loved one’s depression. They might misinterpret their irritability as being anger that is directed specifically at them in what they perceive to be a personal ‘attack’, as opposed to what it really is- a symptom of a mental illness.
Although depression is very much a mental illness, alongside it there exists several physical impacts, not least due to the strong relationship that exists between Depression and physical ill health. For example, someone with depression is likely to experience a lack of energy and motivation which can make it difficult for them to manage their day-to-day life (e.g., laundry, cooking, childcare, etc.) This, as is the case with the psychological and social impacts already discussed, can, again, affect both the individual with depression and their loved ones who might, for example, feel ‘frustrated’ with their loved one who is not ‘pulling their weight’ around the house.
Other physical impacts of Depression include changes to one’s sleeping habits (either sleeping too much or too little), and changes to one’s appetite (either eating too much or too little), both of which can, again, affect the individual with depression as well as their loved ones.
Despite the negative impacts of Depression (of which there are, unsurprisingly, many), as highlighted above, there are also some positive impacts. For example, in supporting a family member struggling with their mental health, the family might be brought closer together as they ‘unite’ in their challenges. Furthermore, the individual with the mental illness themselves might be positively impacted as, through their struggles, they will realise their strengths (as recovery will prove to them.)