What 'I Don't Feel Good' Means For A Person With Depression

Updated November 15, 2022 by BetterHelp Editorial Team

“I don’t feel good” can mean a lot of things. For a child, it can mean, “Please don’t make me go to school today.” For someone else, it might mean, “I’m sick” or “I have a headache.” For others, “I don’t feel good” can mean, “I need help” or “I need a break.” When you have a depressive disorder, “I don’t feel good” can cover a multitude of problems and shouldn’tbe ignored. Reaching out for support when you need it can help you figure out what is going on and create a treatment plan. Your health and wellness are crucial.

Is Depression Causing You To Feel Unwell?

What ‘I Don’t Feel Good’ Means For Someone With Depression

“I don’t feel good” can have a lot of different meanings, depending on whom it’s coming from and what the situation and circumstances are. When someone living with depression utters this phrase, it may signal that they need help. If someone tells you they don’t feel well, and you know they have depression, it’s vital to ask for clarification about what they mean. While they could just be feeling physically sick, this phrase could also be a sign of a larger problem or a cry for help. Staying sensitive to the situation can help you make a logical decision and get the individual who’s feeling unwell support if they need it. 

The Symptoms Of Depression

Symptoms of depression cover a large array of mental and medical processes. The illness can manifest through mood changes, apathy, irritability, anger, prolonged sadness, guilt, shame, or hopelessness. Physically, depression can show up in the form of difficulty sleeping, dizziness, muscle aches, feelings of exhaustion, and tension, as well as unexplained changes in weight, including both weight loss and gain. Depression looks different for everyone living with it.

Depression’s Ebbs And Flows

Although many would surmise that depression is a chronic state of “I don’t feel good,” this isn’t necessarily the case. Depression can come with immense ebbs and flows. One minute you might feel relatively normal, and the next you may feel sick, weighed down by pain, uncertainty, or apathy. “I don’t feel good,” then, should absolutely be listened to, rather than being discounted. Not feeling good can indicate that depressive symptoms are flaring up or worsening. This article discusses how depression impacts those who struggle with it daily.

One of the hallmarks of depression is the tendency to move back and forth between feelings. Although Bipolar Disorder is characterized by more intense highs and lows, most people with depression can attest to experiencing a wide range of feelings – many of them overwhelming – on any given day. Depressive symptoms can include irritability, anger, and fear, which can manifest as lashing out, withdrawing from others, or constantly walking on eggshells, all of which can fall under the umbrella of simply not feeling well.

Why Saying “I Don’t Feel Good” Is Important In Depression

Though it is a common enough phrase, “I don’t feel good” is an important phrase in the life of someone with depression. This phrase can help you set boundaries with friends or family when you don’t feel like imparting a long story or history of your condition. It also helps you get the social support that’s so important when you’re struggling with a mental health diagnosis. Revealing you don’t feel well can be a way of indicating you aren’t up for a night of partying, without having to divulge your depressive symptoms. Saying you don’t feel well can give your employer an idea of your condition – not feeling well enough to work – without having to give an exact, distinct response as to what it is that doesn’t feel well.

“I don’t feel good” is an important phrase to have when you’re living with depression. Depression symptoms can leap up unexpectedly and make carrying out everyday tasks difficult. Everyone needs a break from time to time— even those without a mood disorder. Recognizing that you don’t feel well and need some space and support to process your emotions, rest, or even visit with your therapist is a healthy thing, and can be one of your most powerful tools in making sure you are giving yourself space and energy to heal. This phrase can simply mean that you need time to reconnect with yourself, your goals, and your needs.“I don’t feel good” in depression can be a sign of many things, but perhaps the most important one is this: it often means “I need help and support.”

The Light In The Dark

Although depression can be a difficult disorder to live with, it is not one experienced entirely in isolation; depression affects approximately 300 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Of the people who receive treatment, approximately 80% notice a significant improvement in symptoms. This is a powerful example of how seeking help and support can be life changing. While you may feel emotions like hopelessness when you’re in the midst of depressive symptoms, there are safe, effective treatment options to help you manage your symptoms. “I don’t feel good” does not have to be a constant refrain. You don't have to go through this alone, and plenty of resources are available to you.

Depression treatment can vary in terms of duration and technique. Therapy and medication are common options. Some people find their depression is most effectively treated through various medical and therapeutic modalities, while others feel more comfortable relying primarily on pharmaceutical intervention. Still, others combine different forms of treatment, as well as enlisting the help of lifestyle changes, such as improving dietary habits, engaging in regular exercise, seeking social support, and taking on mindfulness practices in order to re-center themselves. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to treatment; instead, it is tailored to each patient’s unique goals and needs.

Regardless of the exact treatment protocol, the fact remains: depression is treatable. For many, the most difficult part of treatment is actually getting out of the door and getting to a therapist in order to begin a solid, consistent treatment regimen. This is, perhaps, one of the most insidious parts of depression: it can render you helpless in the face of your own illness and can make seeking help extremely difficult. Many people feel as though depression is indicative of a personal flaw or failure, rather than seeing it for what it is: a legitimate, serious illness.

What Causes Depression

There is no single cause of depression. Just as depression itself is multifaceted in its symptoms, it is multifaceted and unique in its sources. Researchers are evaluating the possible causes of depression, and although they have continually identified risk factors, there is still no definitive reason for depression.

It is highly unlikely you’ve done something that has led to your development of depression. Blaming yourself is not only unproductive but it also is not backed up by research. Instead, understanding your background and environment can lend insight into why you have developed depression. Working through your genetic history and background can often also be a key to healing your depression and moving forward with your life.

Is Depression Causing You To Feel Unwell?

Online Therapy With BetterHelp

Because the complexities of depression include how it starts, where it comes from, and whether you are particularly susceptible, the ins and outs of depression are often successfully navigated and worked through with the help of a mental health professional. Therapists act as guides through your own story and history, stepping in now and again to highlight a thought, idea, or memory that might be partially responsible for some of what you are feeling. You can connect with a licensed therapist online through BetterHelp, a virtual counseling platform.

Depression can make it difficult to leave the house or even to get out of bed in the morning. Online therapy lets you get care from the comfort of your bed or home to make getting support easier and more convenient. You can connect with your therapist in a way that feels most comfortable to you.

The Effectiveness Of Online Therapy

Therapy has many purposes that can help with your past, present, and future. As online therapy grows in popularity, you may find yourself curious if it works just as effectively as traditional, face-to-face options. One study showed that internet-delivered therapy was significantly efficacious in reducing adult depression symptom severity, regardless of gender, financial status, or health status. For those who had never received psychotherapy treatment before, it was even more particularly effective.

The Takeaway

Depression can feel overwhelming, and the reasons for it are complex and drastically different from person to person. Despite this, there is hope: depression is one of the most treatable mood disorders. With time, determination, and support, your depression, and corresponding “I don’t feel good” can be the exception, not the rule. Online therapy may help you move through this process more effectively so that you can get back to living a productive, healthy lifestyle.

You Don’t Have To Face Depression Alone. Our Experienced Counselors Can Help.

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