Understanding Depression

Understanding Depression

Understanding Depression

Understanding Depression

Synopsis

A clear explanation for those who know the illness personally and for those who want to understand them

Excerpt

A physician contemplating suicide describes depression: “There's no crispness to the morning. The smell of coffee serves only as a reminder that another long, dreary day has begun. There's no real feeling, no joy, not even much anger, only emptiness. It's difficult to remember feeling any different and getting more difficult to go on feeling this way. Sitting in a dark corner with eyes closed imagining nothingness until there is nothing would be easier. Instead here's the day to face, the responsibilities, the people, the emptiness, but the energy that once fortified the day is no more. Concentration has become a bad joke. Even love is now only a faint echo of itself. A leaden haze obscures the day and folds into a dark tunnel with no hint of light at the end. Where is hope? There is none. Where is happiness? Gone as if it had never been, replaced by tears that must be hidden. Where is relief? Perhaps in death.” Depression is not moodiness. Moodiness is a transient, unpleasant feeling that often occurs in association with some physical or environmental irritant, and it is never debilitating. Depression is to moodiness as a hurricane is to a whirlwind.

Depression is a serious, sometimes chronic, and too often terminal physical illness that clouds the minds of sufferers, robs them of joy and peace, wreaks havoc with their appetites and sleep patterns, and leaves their bodies vulnerable to physical illness and to death, either self-inflicted or as a result of medical illness. One of the most common illnesses found in human beings, depression afflicts 20 percent of the population in the United States and worldwide. Women are two to three times more likely to fall victim to this mood disorder than are men. Depression is an equal opportunity offender, exempting no one on the basis of age, sex, race, religion, sexual orientation, or nation of origin.

The causes of depression have not been clearly defined. Research points to biological abnormalities in the brain and . . .

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