Diagnosis Diaries

What Does Depression Actually Feel Like?

How artist Maeve McGlinchey experiences depression — and what she does to cope.

by Irina Dvalidze
A hand closing a glass box full of dandelions

By now, we’ve all reached an understanding of what depression actually is — a serious mental illness that can totally interfere with your life, cause unrelenting feelings of sadness, hopelessness and apathy. It’s also incredibly common, especially in millennials. In fact, millennials tend to have higher rates of depression than any other generation.

While the illness is incredibly pervasive, it’s hard to understand its affects without actually experiencing it yourself. What does depression actually feel like?

In this episode of Bustle’s Diagnosis Diaries, a series that explores the health journeys of strong individuals who refuse to be defined solely by their diagnosis, we interview Maeve McGlinchey, an artist who creates as a way to deal with her depression, OCD, and PTSD. McGlinchey has been battling depression since middle school.

“Depression is a lot more than just being sad for a little bit,” McGlinchey says. “It starts to interrupt your daily routine, and you kind of stop being you.”

Over the years, the severity of McGlinchey's has ebbed and flowed, but she says that getting her official diagnosis made it more bearable — after all, once what you're feeling has a name, it's easier to confront it and know that it's not just in your head. Now, she uses her art as a tool to express her emotions, channeling feelings of darkness into a healthy form of release. She believes that anyone experiencing similar things can do the same.

"The hardest part of me was wondering if it was possible to become a person I was comfortable," McGlinchey says. "It is, and you can do it, too."

See more of McGlinchey's story in the video above.

If you or someone you know is seeking help for mental health concerns, visit the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) website (www.nami.org), or call 1-800-950-NAMI(6264).

Executive Creative Director: Lauren Sofair

Executive Producer: Whitney Buxton

Supervising Producer: Irina Dvalidze

Director of Photography: Marshall Stief

Camera Assistant: Jasmine Velez

Design Director: Andenew Ayele

Motion Designer: Jeff Donlan

Editor: Amy Adair

Video Assistant: Sasha Mahmood

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