Have You Experienced Atypical Depression? Part 1

I’m sorry I haven’t posted for a few days. I took a much-needed extended weekend. Now I’m ready to get back to business!

Once upon a time not too long ago I was not familiar with atypical depression. Yet, for years I have felt the effects of it. Come to find out, 40% of those who have suffered from depression have experienced it. You may or may not be familiar with it so lets talk about its symptoms.

When I first started reading up on it, the symptom that most struck a chord with me was leaden paralysis. It’s characterized by a feeling of immobility. It’s like your limbs are weighed down and you can’t move. All I could think when I first read about it was, “that’s me!” Many times, I have felt like I literally could not move. Small tasks requiring very little energy or movement sometimes feel impossible. I remember one morning  I forcing myself to go to work. I was putting on my makeup and I felt like I could barely raise my hands up to my face. This symptom has such an appropriate name. It really does feel like a form of paralysis.

Another symptom of this is hypersomnia. Like with all forms of depression, excess sleep is usually present. Hypersomnia however, is to the extreme. Hours on end of sleep. Never having enough, always wanting more. During waking hours, it can also cause extreme sleepiness. I have also experienced this symptom. There have been times when 16 hours of sleep never felt like enough and I could barely could keep my eyes open during the day.

If you are like me and think that this is describing you to a tee, check back in tomorrow. There are a few more facets to atypical depression left to talk about and I will cover them in my next post. Stayed tuned!

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5 responses to “Have You Experienced Atypical Depression? Part 1

  • James Claims

    I look forward to hearing more. I’ve definitely experienced some of these symptoms myself. I usually drink a lot of coffee on those days and I find that actually resisting the need for sleep and trying to get only 7 hours actually tends to help me swing out of them quicker. Still, the insane fatigue sticks with me after the caffeine wears off and I usually have to go to bed early or take a nap. This sounds very interesting, I’d love to hear how you found out about this.

  • LunaSunshine

    Wow! I never knew those were symptoms of atypical depression!

    I knew there were different kinds of mania. I also knew that in younger bipolar patients that there is atypical presentation of both mania and depression. But I didn’t know that symptoms that I consider to be pretty standard for the depressive episodes, are actually considered to be unusual.

    When I experience a depressive episode, hypersomnia or extreme insomnia are the first red flags. The extreme insomnia throws me for a loop everytime because that’s usually the first red flag for a manic episode too. But hypersomnia is always a clear indication. And it’s usually accompanied by the paralysis you mentioned. That paralysis always includes myalgia. Everything becomes exhausting, painful, and impossible.

    Is myalgia included?

    • acrazybeautifulmind

      In all of the reading I’ve done I have not seen any mention of myalgia with atypical depression. However, I am checking into ordering some different books on the subject. If I come across some info I’ll let you know!

  • Gledwood

    I’ve had these symptoms. I’m not too sure about “leaden paralysis” as opposed to severe fatigue though… what’ s the difference?

    When I was younger and depressed I had bad insomnia (of the not getting off to sleep variety)… as I got older, hypersomnia took over and I often sleep 12-17 hours per day, even when not severely depressed.

    I think the reactive mood is as much a flag of severity as of “type” of depression. When I’ve been at my lowest, I don’t think my mood was very reactive at all. But when the depression is “moderate” I find it very easy to act as if I’m OK when I’m really not. And my mood does briefly improve when something good happens. Which helps me convince myself I’m not depressed at all, when really I am…

    By the way my problems are bipolar in nature, but I’d disagree with your statement in part 2 of this post that bipolar people know when they’re depressed. The number of times I’ve been most definitely depressed and yet convinced myself all was fine are too many to mention!

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