What is depression???


My knowledge about depression is minimal. But I recently heard some statistics that made me realise I need to change that.

1 in 5 people will suffer from depression at some point. 1 in 5. Unless you know less than 5 people you are going to have contact with someone (probably lots of people) with depression.

So I decided that I should find out more about it. As I did I came to realise exactly how many people I know who probably have or have had depression. Its a lot more than I expected.

I also have come to realise the harmful nature of the stigma that can be attached to this particular illness. Hopefully as people become more educated this will decrease. So to do my bit I am going to post a series of blogs looking at what depression is, why it happens, who gets it, what part does God play in this, and how we can be christian sufferers and carers. At the end of each post I will include links to some helpful sites where you can get more information and advice.

There is a lot to know/learn and I will probably only scratch the surface so please feel free to add to what I say. If you have experienced depression I would love to hear your story.

Firstly, what is depression?

All of us have felt ‘down’ or ‘low’ from time to time. This is not depression. Depression is a serious illness and the most common mental health condition. It can be debilitating to a persons ability to function from day to day, and can leave them unable to enjoy things that they normally would. What it is NOT is a sign of personal weakness, and it can’t be willed away or ‘snapped out’ of. Symptoms can include

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed, including sex
  • Decreased energy, fatigue, being “slowed down”
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
  • Insomnia, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • Appetite and/or weight loss or overeating and weight gain
  • Thoughts of death or suicide; suicide attempts
  • Restlessness, irritability
  • Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders and chronic pain

If these symptoms continue for more than 2 weeks than your should seek treatment.

There are also different and more severe kinds of depression, such as Mania and Bipolar.

Helpful links –

To Write Love on Her Arms


Black Dog Institute

5 thoughts on “What is depression???

  1. thanks for this, Kate.

    My personal experience matches the stats – about 1 in 5.

    I reckon it’s also important to encourage people by reminding them that depression is an illness like any other so they shouldn’t get hung up over not being able to serve as much as they want to. If their leg were broken then we’d all understand that options are limited. We need to remember that it’s the same when the chemicals in our brain are out of synch.

  2. In my line of work it seems more than 1 in 5 are on some kind of antidepressant, probably due to the high stress and burnout rate in my field (brain injury rehab).

    Many people are good at hiding their depression. You usually don’t know until you’ve had a heart to heart or disclosed some of your own battles.

  3. thanks brian

    i agree that people become experts at hiding depression. i think this is a side effect of the stigma surrounding it. It makes people ashamed of having depression – which is really sad cause there is no reason to be ashamed at all.

    hopefully as people become educated about it that will cease to be an issue

  4. Pingback: Depression and demons??? « kt-rae

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