Mental Health

What Does Depression Really Feel Like?

Victoria Suzanne
3 min readSep 17, 2022


People need to stop gatekeeping mental illness

Photo by Sasha Freemind on Unsplash

I recently read this great article by Steve Arrowsmith MA:

Steve’s is one of the most accurate descriptions of these illnesses that I’ve read recently. It reminded me that I wanted to write something similar, not because there’s a lack of articles on the topic, but because of how much gatekeeping there is. How much talk there is about what depression isn’t.

In truth, everyone experiences slightly depression differently, although there’s a lot of crossover—this what depression really feels like, for me.

Sometimes, I’m just sad

The thing that annoys me most about depression gatekeepers is when they say “it’s not just feeling sad”. Sure, there’s a bit more nuance than that, but a lot of the time, my depression presents as just feeling really sad.

The note on my Sertraline says it was prescribed for persistent “low mood”. What do you think that means? Low mood = feeling down. Or, you know, sad. While we’re playing word association: depression = depressed mood = low mood = sad. Yeah. Sometimes I’m just really sad.

I also think people who say things like this don’t know the difference between acute and chronic depression. Chronic depression, or dysthymia, is a persistent, mild to moderate depressed mood. I.e. a bit sad, just all the time.

I’ve also had bouts of acute depression as well as chronic and that tends to be when things get really bad…

(Un)comfortably numb

The good news is, you can’t feel so utterly despondent forever, in my experience. Eventually, your brain will try to protect itself by blunting all emotions. That’s why it makes me laugh when people say that antidepressants do the same: they don’t for me, but plus ça change, huh?




Victoria Suzanne

NCTJ-qualified journalist and editor. Follow my true crime publication @Crime-Scenes.