The term ‘Depression’ is used to describe feelings and experiences. To majority of the population being depressed basically means that you are feeling down, sad, or upset. However, it is important to distinguish depression from sadness because a person can feel these emotions without being ‘clinically' depressed. The big difference is that normal feelings of sadness are generally brief and do not impact on your day to day functioning. You can still go to work, go out with friends while not feeling amazing and ecstatically happy you can still get on with your normal functioning. Depression has become so common that it is often referred to as the “common cold” of mental illness. Approximately 12 out of every 100 people globally at any given point of time are undergoing an episode of depression.
Have you ever endured a day where absolutely everything’s went wrong.. You kicked your toe getting out of bed, the hot water run out during the shampoo cycle of your shower, the milk is off, which you only realised after your first mouthful of cereal, you caught every red light red light on the way to work and so on and so on so that it literally feels like it will never end. In a way being depressed is slightly similar to that horrible day where everything keeps going wrong except there is NO break in the cycle. Which leads to feelings of hopelessness.
When a person is depressed, they may not feel they have enough energy to get up from bed or do any of the daily routine that we tend to do without too much effort. They feel tired ALL the time have difficulty concentrating on work/study or other activities. There sleep cycle is interrupted or changes either sleeping too much or not enough. They eat poorly and gather no joy from any activity or anyone. Sometimes it impacts so much on them and their life that they are unable to take care of themselves and yet feel too ashamed of asking for help, worrying about judgement or criticism. The big factor is the insistent internal voice that is constantly running them down bringing all past events under the microscope to ridicule and judge them thus impacting on their confidence and self-esteem.
It is very important that people who feel depressed or who think they may be depressed understand what depression is and how to move through it. It is very easy to get swept up in this mood but it is most important to remember is that it is not your “fault” or “weakness” that you are depressed. Nor can you just “snap out of it” as most friends/ relatives/ well-wishers will suggest. It helps to talk to someone so you can process and understand the chaos that you are feeling. Regrettably most people do not seek treatment and end up suffering. Depression is not permanent – there are number of psychological and pharmacological treatments (antidepressant medication) that are effective, affordable and readily available.