You have depression… and??

The crippling effects of depression are sometimes misunderstood. Being depressed or sad is not unusual; it’s actually quite normal. Life is made of happy moments like the birth of a child, and also sad moments like the death of a parent. These are the ebbs and flows of existence. We all experience joy and sadness. Whether good or bad, these moments pass.

What makes your depression different from mine

The main difference is between “being” and “having.” You can be sad, or even depressed, not have major depression. The Mayo Clinic describes the condition the following way

Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life isn’t worth living. More than just a bout of the blues, depression isn’t a weakness and you can’t simply “snap out” of it. Depression may require long-term treatment.

Having clinical (or major) depression is sometimes not related to any particular event. Someone with depression may have no idea why they feel the way they do. What they know is that they feel a deep, life altering sadness that can sometimes lead to an obsession about death and thoughts of suicide. They may not be able to care for themselves and stop bathing. They may not be able to sleep and stay awake for days on end. They may lose all interest in outside activities and want to stay in the bed and sleep for days. It can be a terrible struggle.

Treatment and support

Clinical depression is treatable. Talk therapy and medication can be used to treat the disorder and help gain an understanding of how the environment impacts or triggers depression. The Mayo Clinic suggests the following strategies to help prevent depression

  • Take steps to control stress, to increase your resilience and boost your self-esteem
  • Reach out to family and friends, especially in times of crisis, to help you weather rough spells
  • Get treatment at the earliest sign of a problem to help prevent depression from worsening
  • Consider getting long-term maintenance treatment to help prevent a relapse of symptoms

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline


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External Resources

Administration for Community Living

Pathfinders for Autism

Disability Scoop

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

National Center for PTSD