Are You Simply Bored Or Is It Depression? Know The Difference
Depression and boredom can be quite similar, yet are distinctly different from each other. You must avoid jumping into conclusions of being depressed, when you're simply bored. But at the same time, you must take symptoms of depression seriously, and not shove them off as boredom.
While we are bored, we often find ourselves, staring at nothing or just counting the seconds to pass away
- Boredom is when a person is not mentally stimulated by his surrounding
- Depression is a mental disorder characterised by continous low mood
- Studies show boredom is necessary to pursue new goals
Let's be real. We all have experienced boredom at some point in our lives. We all have sat through lectures that don't interest us at all, or listened to our friends talk about something boring. When we are bored, we often find ourselves staring at nothing or just counting the seconds to pass away. But it can also make us feel restless and desperate. It leads us to under-perform at work and withdraw from people around us. This is often considered to be one of the symptoms of depression. So are you depressed if you are bored? Not always. But in the year 2000, J Sommers in her article, Boredom Proneness: Its Relationship to Psychological- and Physical-Health Symptoms, showed us a clear link between boredom and depression.
To differentiate between boredom and depression, let's first understand what these terms mean.
What is depression?
Depression is a mental disorder characterised by low mood. It is the constant state of being unhappy and feeling empty. It is characterised by irregular sleep patterns, feelings of worthlessness and sometimes, false beliefs and paranoia.
How is that different from boredom?
Boredom is simply a state of mind in which the individual is not mentally stimulated by his/her surroundings. This leaves them unmotivated to do any work.
So, how does it affect our lives?
Boredom, at times can be dangerous to health. But in On The Function Of Boredom, Shane Bench revealed that boredom is necessary to pursue new goals and makes individuals more creative. In such cases, people prone to boredom, actually perform better than normal individuals. The same cannot be said for depression.
In depression, an individual performs poorly, rather than trying to improve their performance. He/she feels no motivation to do so. It is also accompanied by low self-esteem and low energy, making the individual prone to fatigue. People with depression also experience pain without a physical cause.
What causes boredom? And, how is it different from depression?
Boredom can be caused by inadequate rest, low levels of mental stimulation or lack of choice over day-to-day activities. The causes of depression, however, are more widespread.
Biological, psychological and social factors all play an important role in causing depression. It can be genetic and inherited. It can also be triggered by trauma or any other major event in the life of an individual. Bullying, sexual, mental, and physical abuse are all other reasons why people fall into depression. Substance abuse can also make you prone to depression.
How is the diagnosis of boredom different from depression?
Let's say that you've been feeling bored all day while working but going to a party at night can get you excited again. Of course, you can again get bored while working the next day. But depression, to be clinically diagnosed, has to last for more than 2 weeks, continuously. It does not go away with a change of activities.
So what's the cure?
Boredom can be cured by trying new things out. You can bring a change in your lifestyle, workplace or try out new hobbies to get rid of boredom. But, depression is an unsettling feeling that will make you feel out of place no matter what you do.
Psychotherapy helps with depression. Both individual and family based psychotherapies have positive results. Sometimes, medications are also prescribed for depression.
So, if you are feeling bored, don't jump to the conclusion of being depressed. It is true that, boredom can lead you to depression if it lasts for a prolonged period of time. But try to distract yourself and fight the mental illness from hitting you.
Also read: Everything You Should Know About Anorexia