What exactly is depression is one of the most commonly asked questions. Is it a sign of weakness? Definitely NOT! Often the most competent of people succumb to depression. Here I answer some of the most commanly asked questions. If you have more to ask, please don’t hesitate to write them in the comments box.
What exactly is depression?
This is one of the most commonly asked question asked by people attempting to gain some understanding. Let me try to answer some of the most commonly asked questions. Basically depression is a physical as well as a psychological illness. It is regarded as the common cold of the psychiatric illnesses. Statistically, 3 out of 10 people will experience clinical depression in their lifetime. You’re definitely not alone.
Is Clinical depression a passing ‘blue’ mood?
The simple answer is no, it is not just a passing blue mood. Ups and downs are part of normal life, but a clinical depression is different, it lasts much longer than normal and has a physical element to it. Depression affects the way you eat and sleep, the way you feel about yourself, the way you see the world. Thoughts become very negative and out of touch with reality. Accepting that your thoughts are out of touch with reality can be the turning point in your recovery.
Is depression caused by bad experiences?
Hard as it may be to believe, depression doesn’t stem from a bad experience, but rather from your personal thoughts associated with what happened. Unfortunately bad things do happen to good people, but depression is not the automatic reaction. Let me give some examples.
- You loose your job, what could your automatic thought be? Maybe something like, ‘I’m stupid, I’ll never get another job’. This type of thinking could lead you down the spiral of depression. On maybe it’s something like: ‘Hey, I’m okay, might need to re-skill a bit, but let’s move on!’ With this type of thinking you’ll be able to move on with life. Don’t be hard on yourself, thoughts are automatic. You really wouldn’t choose thoughts that make you miserable. To overcome depression, you’ll have to start examining your thoughts. It’s a bit of detective work!
Is depression a personal weakness?
Let me repeat myself, depression is NOT a personal weakness. It might feel that way but that is probably because you’re a very competent person and highly self-critical. Maybe even a perfectionist.
What about will-power to get rid of depression?
I really wish it were that easy! What about the comment ‘just pull yourself together’? I’m sure you’ve heard that one! This type of comment is so ridiculous. Take great pity on someone who makes such a stupid comment. Rather this, than let the remark eat you up and make you more depressed.
Listen to those monsters!
Overcoming depression is not at all easy, I know because I’ve been there. Just as hunger pangs tell you your body needs food, depression tells you that all is not well in your emotional life. You have two choices. You can go into denial, but that’s really not going to work. A hungry tummy doesn’t listen if you try convincing it that it’s not hungry! Pretending you don’t have depression, when you do, also isn’t going to work. It’s a bit like trying to sweep some ugly monsters under the carpet. They will come up again and again to ‘bite you’! ‘Go with the flow’ and deal with everything that comes your way. This is an opportunity to spring clean your emotional life.
Can a doctor really help?
Isn’t depression just a psychological problem?
If you break an arm you go to the the doctor. You wouldn’t expect a broken arm to ‘heal itself’ would you? The same applies to depression. Negative thinking, the symptom of depression, indicates that there is an imbalance in the thinking chemicals of the brain. Clinical depression is a physical illness and needs to be treated by a medical doctor.
What about the threat of suicide?
Always take suicide threats seriously. Often a seriously depressed person sees suicide as the only way out. Get yourself or your friend to the hospital or to a doctor for immediate help. Don’t delay. Remember, clinical depression is a physical illness and needs to be treated medically. There has been such huge developments in medication for depression, there is help available. Medication can make all the difference.
To sum up …
If you are, or think you are, suffering from a clinical depression seek out help, as soon as possible. Get answers to your questions. No point in waiting and prolonging the agony.
- Depression is a physical illness, so for a start go to your family doctor. If he is unsympathetic to depression, find another doctor!
- Take the medication, it really does help (see Article on Physical Aspects).
- Have therapy and read up about depression. Learn skills for overcoming depression (see Article on Cognitive Therapy – Psychological Aspects of depression).
- And lastly, be kind and loving to yourself!
If you’re in the pit of depression, what I’m now going to say may be hard to accept. There are many people who feel that they came out of depression as a more whole person, really enjoying life for the first time. I hope the same for you. Believe that the light you see at the end of the tunnel is the light of a bright future, not the lights of a head-on speeding train,! You just need to get through to the other side.
Well done on taking the first step in understanding what depression is all about. There’s plenty of helpful information on my site, so dive in and have a look.