Depression and sinking feeling in my chest (+3 Tips)

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In this article, it will be explained why people get those sinking feelings in their chest, how it is related to the fact that a person suffers from depression how one can cope with that, and other signs of depression.

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What is depression?

Depression is a mental illness that affects 5% of the world’s population. It is a condition that can affect men and women, but as research has shown, women are more susceptible to depression.

There are many reasons why a person can develop depression. It might be related to genetics, so if a person has depression in their family history, they have a greater chance to develop depression.

Aside from that if a person has experienced a depressive episode before in their life, they also have a higher chance of developing another episode. Depression might also be about the brain chemistry, when there is an imbalance in it, can lead to depression, as well as a person dealing with a traumatic situation, such as grief, divorce, or maybe financial or legal problems.

Depression is when a person is faced with an intense sense of sadness, loss of purpose, feeling empty and hopeless, and has a decreased sense of self-worth and diminished self-esteem. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a person is considered to be depressed when they intensely experience its symptoms for two weeks.

Although each person may experience depression with different symptoms, the main symptoms of depression are:

  • Change in sleeping pattern
  • Change in eating pattern
  • Lack of energy 
  • Lack of interest in things one used to find pleasure in
  • Intense crying or inability to cry even when one wants to
  • Irritability
  • Isolation
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Pains not related to organic causes and headaches
  • Thoughts of death and suicidal thoughts

Why do I get this sinking feeling in my chest?

Many people might experience this sinking feeling in their chest when they are going through an anxiety crisis or a panic attack, in which the person has a sense of impending doom. 

Those can also happen to a person when they are going through a severe depression, since a person with depression tends to worry about things extremely, they might develop this sinking feeling in their chest as a result of it.

This sinking feeling in the chest is, in medical terms, called a heart palpitation. The person might feel like her chest is tightened, which can cause them to be unable to breathe. And a person should observe if it’s something that is related to their emotional state or if it is something that might be related to their hard condition, and if that’s the case, the person should look for their doctor.

How to cope with the sinking feeling in my chest?

When a person is experiencing those sinking feelings in their chest frequently, aside from intense depressive feelings, a person should look for their physician. It might be time to start considering starting a medication treatment for it. The medication will help reduce these sensations, which tend to improve your sense of well-being and make coping with depression a little easier.

One might also benefit from starting a therapy process. In it, the person will find a supportive and calm environment with a person that will help them navigate through their feelings. Understanding what can trigger their sinking feeling, and what strategies they can create together to deal with them. 

Research has shown that the combination of medication and psychotherapy tends to be a more effective way to recover and it also lessens the chances of a relapse.

When a person is experiencing the sinking feeling in their chest, there are some things they can do to try and help themselves out of it. 

Breathing exercises

The 4-7-8 breathing exercise can be a way to help you practice your breathing, which can make it a little easier to get out of that sinking feeling. To practice, it, sit in a comfortable position and exhale through your mouth. Close your lips and draw the air as you count to four. Hold your breath in as you count to seven, and let it out through your mouth as you count to eight. Repeat this 4 times

It will help you slow your heart rate and breathing, open your airways, and make the heaviness in your chest feel a little less intense.

Meditation

The practice of regular meditation can help you focus on your body and in your breathing, it can help you get out of those intense feelings of doom that tend to lead to the sinking feeling in your chest. It can give you clarity and make you calm.

Talk to a friend

Having someone to be there for you in those moments might be of great help. They can help you unfocus from the feeling of impending doom, that can lead to that sinking feeling, or they can give you a little perspective as to why, most of all this rumination, is based on your fantasies and fears

It can also make you feel a little less alone in these situations, which can be a big help when someone is battling depression. Since when a person is depressed they might feel isolated and incapable of being understood by people close to them.

Reduce the intake of stimulants

Stimulants such as coffee tend to make a person more agitated, if you are experiencing those sinking feelings, it is best to avoid stimulants, so you can try to be calmer and not respond so intensely to your fears.

Move your body

Exercising often can be a great way to reduce your anxiety since you’ll be outside and focusing on other things, and also putting some energy out of your body. And it might also help to get those endorphins that come from exercising to give you a little sense of well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Is it a sign of depression having a sinking feeling in my chest?

How does depression impact my learning?

Depression can impact your learning process in many ways. Because when you are depressed you feel less energetic, you tend to not feel as ready to study as you might have felt before. Aside from the motivation aspect of depression, it can also affect your learning abilities. 

When depressed a person tends to have less ability to focus and their attention span tends to be shorter than before, this can make it harder for them to pay attention in classes, but also to memorize information. It also impacts your ability to deal with problems, making it harder for you to plan and execute situations and impact your problem-solving abilities.

People with depression also are slower when processing information, which means they usually take longer to respond to things than they did before they were depressed. 

Research has shown that this is true in almost every aspect, but when depressed person faces negative situations, they tend to respond faster, showing how depressed people are more directed to negative emotions.

Is depression a mental impairment?

For depression to be considered a mental impairment it is important to think about how intense the condition is. Although it can always cause a person to become less attentive, and have other cognitive effects, it usually doesn’t give the person permanent mental impairment. 

But if in severe form, depression can cause a person to develop a condition called pseudodementia, which means the person might experience the same loss of abilities as a person with dementia, but it is caused mainly because of their depression.

Is depression curable?

Health care professionals tend to say that depression is most treatable. It is impossible to affirm that when a person gets better from a depressive episode, they won’t go through another one in their life. Having gone through one is a factor that can make it easier for a person to develop a new depressive episode.

So it is often said that depression is in remission, a person is feeling better, their symptoms are lessened and they feel less impaired by it in their day-to-day life. 

Can anxiety give me chest pain?

Yes, sometimes people with anxiety can have moments when their heart rate goes up and they might even think they are having a heart attack. It might feel like their chest is tightened, and their breathing goes up. But it is just the adrenaline rushing in a high dose in their body.

It might mean that you are having an anxiety crisis or a panic attack. When going through that it is important for a person to try to breathe, maybe to a breathing or relaxation exercise, as a way to decrease your heart rate and slow your breathing patterns. 

If this becomes frequent, it might be important to look for professional help, maybe a therapist that can help you understand what has been triggering your anxiety crisis or panic attacks.

How long does depression last?

It is hard to define a timetable for depression. The parameter we have set is that when a person experiences depressive symptoms for two weeks, they can say they are going through a depressive episode. But how long it lasts depends on many variables. 

It depends on how the person copes with it, meaning how they will function emotionally during it if they are people that will look for medication help or therapy or other techniques; or if they will take some time to do that. Another factor that has an impact on it is the social support they will receive during the episode.

Along with that, the person’s history will determine how long their depressive episode lasts. A person that has better brain plasticity, meaning that is more adaptable, tends to have depressive episodes that last less time than people who have a harder time adjusting to things. With all that, it is possible to say that there will be people that will be depressed for weeks, some for months and there can also be those who will experience it for tears.

Conclusion

In this article, it was shown what depression is and how some people might feel, as a symptom of it, a sinking feeling in their chest, that can also be related to a panic attack, as well as other symptoms of depression. Aside from that, the article proposed ways to deal with depression and the sinking feeling in their chest.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to write in the section below.

References

https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/depression/what-is-depression
https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/depression

Ahorsu DW, Tsang HWH. Do people with depression always have decreased cognitive processing speed? Evidence through electrophysiological lens. Neuropsychiatric. 2018; 8(4): 1227-1231.

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