Skip to main content Skip to bottom nav

How can I explain what its like living with Dysthymia?

10 Answers
Last Updated: 01/13/2022 at 11:54pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
Moderated by

Katherine Aucoin, Transpersonal Counselling Psychology


I offer you compassion and support on your unique journey. I look forward to working with you to heal your emotional wounds and find more freedom and joy.

Top Rated Answers
October 4th, 2016 1:35am
Living with Dysthymia is like having little grey clouds over your head. They're not raining, but it does make things a bit grey. However, once you find some sunshine life gets a bit easier. :)
February 28th, 2017 1:10am
The spoon theory is a metaphor used to explain living with chronic illness or lower energy to "healthier" people. Everyone has a set number of spoons. Spoons represent units of energy. Tasks require spoons. Task range from getting out of bed, to showering, to putting on clothes, to moving - everything. People with lower energy tend to spend more spoons when completing tasks because we have more decisions to carefully make per task, each decision costing a spoon. Once someone has run out of spoons they have no option but to rest until their spoons are replenishe.d People with lower energy levels may find themselves compromising on day-to-day activities just to get by, or may find they have overspent their spoons and have no energy for the next day's tasks. People who are "healthier" by contrast don't even notice that they are spending spoons at all. It is not our fault we run out of spoons faster than "healthier" people. We will get there one day. For more information on the spoon theory, read here:
February 19th, 2015 4:29pm
Dysthymia is like being sad but for a very long time. Think about when you are a little happy when getting a high-grade, this is the most happy when you have dysthymia. Know that sadness when you lost your pet? This is about the regular feeling. Or sometimes just emptiness. It like being sad- but stronger, and longer.
April 15th, 2015 11:42am
Dysthymia (dis-THIE-me-uh) is a mild but long-term (chronic) form of depression. Symptoms usually last for at least two years, and often for much longer than that. Dysthymia interferes with your ability to function and enjoy life. With dysthymia, you may lose interest in normal daily activities, feel hopeless, lack productivity, and have low self-esteem and an overall feeling of inadequacy. People with dysthymia are often thought of as being overly critical, constantly complaining and incapable of having fun.
June 16th, 2015 8:36pm
You don't feel like yourself anymore, old things seem to be boring while new things sound interesting to you. You don't want to be yourself, you don't know yourself..But you move on...taking empty paths not knowing where to go. But sometimes you get there..just that!
October 22nd, 2018 2:04pm
Maybe be prepared with a list of what it is for folks that don't know what it is. Tell them how you cope each day and what type of good coping skills that you use. Here are some ideas to help your day go better: 1. Cut back or eliminate refined sugars 2. Exercise 3 to 5 times a week for 30 minutes Get plenty of rest. What is dysthymia? In the simplest terms, it’s chronic, mild depression that lasts for years instead of weeks to months. The DSM-5 (which replaces dysthymia with persistent depressive disorder, but I’ll still refer to it as dysthymia) provides the following diagnostic criteria: Depressed mood for most of the day, for more days than not, for a period of 2 years or longer (in adults). Presence of 2 or more of the following during the same period: Poor appetite or overeating Insomnia or hypersomnia Low energy or fatigue Low self-esteem Impaired concentration or indecisiveness Hopelessness Never without symptoms for more than 2 months.
January 28th, 2015 8:29am
I tell people that the low's are not as low as depression, but there aren't any up's and down's, just mostly low's.
June 17th, 2015 7:21am
It's very difficult to explain to someone who doesn't have it, and even if you have the perfect explanation planned out, they still likely won't truly understand. It's more about letting them know that this may put certain boundaries on you, and letting them know what you would like them to help you with, if it's within their power.
November 25th, 2015 7:14pm
Dysthymia is a mild, but chronic form of depression. You should talk about the symptoms you are having and what it feels like. Dysthymia interferes with your ability to function and enjoy life. Does that sound right?
January 13th, 2022 11:54pm
Explaining what dysthymia (persistent depression disorder) is like to live with is hard. It is considered mild, but it never feels like it because it last for so long. People with it are supposed to be 'high functioning' but dealing with it for so long can definitely make you feel like (or actually be) the opposite. It is like depression in a lot of ways, but is also so drawn out. As I've had it for what, five years now, I can definitely say that it is so hard to deal with, though possible to cope of course. With the right help it is possible to cope with and get rid of dysthymia but that doesn't make any of it easy. Hope this helps!