For those struggling with depression, talking about it can be tough.
Sufferers report an overwhelming sense of negative emotion, without any clarity as to exactly what’s causing it.
But research published by Physchological Science shows that in itself is a symptom of the disease – the inability to tell the difference between which negative emotions are being felt.
The study was the first to show that people diagnosed with MDD (major depressive disorder) “experience negative emotions with less differentiation in their daily lives than healthy individuals,” meaning that common feelings of sadness, anger, guilt, disgust, shame and anxiety blur into one.
Individuals not suffering from the disorder can differentiate between feeling ashamed, angry, anxious or guilty, while those with MDD may struggle to tell those different emotions apart.
Despite this being a significant feature of this disorder, we do not speak about it nearly enough.
Co-author of the study Dr Emre Demiralp says, “it is difficult to improve your life without knowing whether you are sad or angry about some aspect of it. For example, imagine not having a gauge independently indicating the gasoline level of your car. It would be challenging to know when to stop for gas”.