Is depression just a word? Does depression just mean sadness? A big NO! Depression might be described as sadness, loss, or the feeling to do nothing but the spectrum of depression is much wider than we know. This article let us know the actual meaning of depression.
Here is what many people struggling with depression commonly say.
“I had no motivation to do anything, and everything felt meaningless. Money didn’t matter to me anymore, and neither did having a loving family. I didn’t care about living, eating, washing, or anything else. I just felt as though I was completely alone in this world.”
“I dealt with psychological issues for decades of my life. I was one of those people who looked like I had it all together, but on the inside, felt like I was falling apart.”
A closer look – Meaning of depression
Mental health is as vital as physical health. And yet we ignore the fact that millions of people today are suffering from anxiety and depression in various forms.
Good or bad moods, grief, sadness, cheerfulness—all these emotions are part of life. They come and go. Bad moods are a part of human nature, but chronic bad moods are not. However, if your mood gets in the way of doing daily activities and affects your life substantially, or if you seem emotionally stuck, you may have depression.
Depression is a chronic mood disorder—
A physical and mental stressor. Depression is a withdrawal of your vital life force, stealing your vitality by sucking your life force into your depths.
Depression is an ongoing problem, not a passing one—lasting several weeks, months, or years. It is battling a mental health condition often done internally. It can be broken into categories depending on the severity of the symptoms. Some people experience mild and temporary episodes which might go unnoticed or taken as temporary mood shifts, while others experience severe and ongoing depressive episodes.
Depression always has a trigger—a different type of trigger—either one incidence or several incidences over some time—of different nature. You store different traumatic experiences in a pandora’s box of triggers in your unconscious mind. Although at a conscious level, you don’t remember or can’t remember those events, that age-old emotional memory, can affect your emotions, feeling, and behavior 24*7.
Why depression is considered a serious medical condition because it can get worse and lethal if appropriate actions are not taken in time.
Therefore, it’s something for you to regulate and watch over.
Depression Vs. Sadness – Knowing the difference
Sadness is a typical emotion and is expected in situations of loss, change or difficult life experiences.
The meaning of depression is more than occasional sadness. Depression usually becomes more prominent when it involves self-loathing or a loss of self-esteem, hopelessness, lethargy, emptiness, helplessness, irritability, and problems concentrating.
while grief typically does not. Only a depressive person will know that depression is like a dark pit of nothingness, filled with aches and pains and regret and guilt.
It’s very common to experience sadness, feeling down, and having a loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities and these are all familiar feelings for all of us. But depression is more intense and lasts longer than just a day of sadness or “the blues.”
Depression and grief might have some similar presenting features, but it’s important to know that depression is quite different from grief felt after losing a loved one or felt after a traumatic life event.
It’s possible that sadness can get past quickly, but not depression.
How does depression feel?
Depression is REAL—the suffering feels REAL. Depression just hits differently—mainly defined by emotional pain and the realm of negative reinforcement.
Understanding depression is complex. Depression is felt as more of low-grade chronic unhappiness with life, or there may be intense feelings of hopelessness and negative thoughts about yourself and your life.
More than just about the blues, depression isn’t a weakness and you can’t simply “snap out” of it. A misconception of depression is that you can just snap out of it or that something happened to cause you to feel depressed. In reality, it can be extremely painful to live with your reality. It goes beyond everyday emotions and seeps into life and relationships by altering the brain’s structure and chemical output.
Some people may experience mild depression only once in their lives, while others have several severe episodes over their lifetime. Some individuals who have been diagnosed with major depression may also have symptoms of another mental disorder. Depression and anxiety or any other mental condition can also occur in a person at the same time.
A lot of depressed people put on a social mask to hide their condition, but this mask can drop when they think no one is paying attention.
Who suffers from Depression?
Depression has the potential to affect all kinds of personalities and its presentation can be very different in various people. Even a highly functioning person can be suffering invisibly too from depression.
The symptoms and experiences of depression can be totally different among males, females, teens, and children. What’s more, depression can look a little different and therefore be harder to spot in an older person compared with someone younger. For a retired person without a typical routine schedule that is consistent, it’s easy to kind of get into a rut and for people to not be able to notice.
Depression is also a huge taboo topic for our older population, in their world if you’re sick in your head, it’s a behavioral issue and there’s a stigma associated with that thinking.
Depression closes us from the desire for activity and action, but high-functioning individuals still tend to forge ahead to succeed with goals.
Depression in Women and Men is different
The meaning of depression can be different for different genders in many obvious ways.
Studies show that the higher chance of depression in women may be related to the different changes a woman bears throughout her life. The hormonal changes are more evident during the monthly menstrual cycle, puberty, pregnancy, and menopause, as well as after giving birth or having a miscarriage. Such hormone fluctuations are marked especially by depression, anxiety, and mood swings and interfere with daily life.
Depression in women may happen earlier, can persist longer, be more likely to repeat or come back, be more likely to be tied to stressful life events, and be more sensitive to seasonal changes. Women are more likely to have guilty feelings, anxiety disorders, especially panic and phobic symptoms, eating disorders, and attempt suicide.
In addition, women juggling work with raising kids and women who are single parents suffer more stress that may trigger symptoms of depression.
Why external help is needed?
Depression is a disease that can have a significant impact on both your health and your well-being. It is critical to address the main issues first before anything else.
You cannot cure a broken bone all by yourself or by asking people on the Internet. It cannot be cured by reading some quotes on Instagram or listening to motivational videos. Depression cannot be willed away by positive thoughts.
If one doesn’t tell their story or want help, they can’t learn how to cope with depression. Sometimes there are no resources available in the town, city, state, country, etc. Other times, people don’t want to talk to anyone during the depressive episodes, so their symptoms and feelings just get tossed around until the next time.
Sometimes, people with depression cope by denying the fact that they need help, denying that they have depression, or that everything will pass and not everything is permanent and moving on.
It is important to understand that there is no simple fix. Accept that fact. A doctor can help you the best. As time passes, you will figure out certain patterns that trigger you and the mechanism that helps you cope with them. The more you try to overcome, the more you learn about yourself, and the more it’s going to help you.
You will still have a negative voice inside you, that voice is keeping you in your comfort zone but knows that it’s time to change! When you clear inside of your mind, your mind changes naturally and your life will be changed.
Neither is there a “one size fits all” treatment to overcome them. Build a ladder step-by-step and gradually walk through it.
Types of Depression
Following are the different types of depressive disorders that doctors can diagnose:
- Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
- Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder
- Persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia)
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
- Postpartum depression
- Perinatal depression
- Seasonal depression
- Situational depression
- Substance-Induced Mood Disorder (SIMD)
- Depressive disorder due to another stressful medical condition
Symptoms of Depression
Serious depression can cause a variety of symptoms affecting mood or body. Symptoms may also be ongoing or come and go. It’s important that one should never ignore the symptoms of depression. Keep in mind, that it’s also normal to notice some of these symptoms from time to time without actually having depression.
Following are some of the key signs and symptoms that you may be living with depression.
- Feeling sad or empty or anxious or grief
- Feeling worthless or hopeless or guilt
- Feeling tired or reduced energy
- Feeling annoyed or cranky or angry outburst
- Dark moods
- Crying frequently
- Sleeping excessively or too little
- Constant worry or anxiety or restlessness
- Unintended weight gain or loss
- Appetite changes
- Feeling demotivated
- Slowed movement and speech
- Difficulty getting through your normal activities
- Withdrawing from social circle
- Loss of sexual desire
- Loss of interest in formerly pleasurable activities or hobbies
- Changes in the immune system and inflammation
- Difficulty focusing, remembering, or making decisions
- Unexplained physical pain (aches, headache, cramps, digestive issues)
- Recurring thoughts of death or suicide or self-harm frequently.
Other Complications that may happen with Depression
Depression often gets worse if it isn’t treated, resulting in emotional, behavioral, and many other health-related problems that affect almost every area of your life.
Following are some of the complications associated with depression.
- Physical pain or illness
- Alcohol or drug misuse
- Panic attacks, anxiety, or social phobia
- Relationship problems, family conflicts, issues at work
- Social isolation
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Suicidal feelings or suicide attempts
- Self-harm (cutting)
Causes for Depression
A variety of factors are involved in causing depression. The exact cause is not known yet.
Some of the common causes of depression include:
- Chemical imbalance of neurotransmitters in parts of the brain
- Changes in the body’s balance of hormones
- Inherited traits from a family history of depression or another mood disorder
- Early childhood trauma (physical or sexual abuse or death of a loved one)
- History of substance or alcohol misuse
- Changes in the brain’s neurotransmitter levels
- Brain structure i.e frontal lobe of the brain is less active
- People who feel emotional or chronic physical pain for a prolonged time
- Environmental factors
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Psychological and social factors
- Gender identity (transgender or queer community more at risk)
- Sex (women more at risk)
- Socioeconomic statuses like having financial problems or a low social status
- Certain medical conditions (chronic illness, bipolar, insomnia, cancer, heart attack,
- obesity, diabetes, incomplete treatment, etc.)
- Lack of coping strategies to deal with acute stress or certain life event (work issues,
- relationship issues, medical concerns, bereavement, loved one going through depression
- Certain developmental personality traits as low self-esteem, being too dependent on others, self-critical or Pessimistic person.
The Bottom Line
Depression is a dark pit of nothingness, filled with aches and pains and regret and guilt. The world of depression sounds scary and so is the feeling of going through its effects.
Depression—be it a temporary challenge or a long-term challenge—its treatment doesn’t always make your depression go away completely but successfully makes symptoms more manageable.
Seeking support is important—both social and professional. Recovery from depression has to be done across many fronts at once. Find what works for you—through therapy and self-care, you can learn strategies for managing your depression and/or anxiety. Looking for help doesn’t mean you’ve failed—it means that you’re smart enough to recognize a problem you can’t solve on your own and brave enough to ask for support.
Don’t wait until depression takes a toll on you. You only have this life. Don’t undermine yourself.
Don’t waste it like this. There is hope, there is healing but no quick fix. Let go of everything that is holding you back. You can get started on the road to a meaningful and fulfilling life without suffering from feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and worthlessness.
It never will be a linear journey—two steps forward and one step backward is still one step forward.
You pick yourself up again and start.
The choice is yours—if you want this disease to beat you, cripple you, and devastate your quality of life—or you will wrestle it to the ground and beat this devil for once and all.
Just stay strong! Go and live your life!
“Life for you has been less than kind So take a number, stand in line We’ve all been sorry, we’ve all been hurt But how we survive, is what makes us who we are” – Survive, Rise Against