Saturday, 28 July 2012

Depression - Real or Fake?


I can't explain why so many people these days claim to suffer from depression. The  word depression seems to be batted to and fro more and more. It's as if it was like a common cold - if you sneeze, you catch it. Almost every time something goes wrong in life for some people, they automatically make sweeping statements of how they are suffering from depression. I don't pretend to have any medical background in this area, but can only comment on what I've heard from the experiences of friends. 

I personally believe that there are people who genuinely have suffered or are suffering from the illness depression and there are others who may feel depressed but do not have this illness.

To clarify the point I am trying to make, there are those who are affected by everyday stressful situations. Struggles in finding employment, finding childcare, a decent place to live, financial insecurities and many more. I'm not saying they are not exasperated by their current situations which they have no control over. I don't doubt they are stuck in a rut and can't see a light at the end of the tunnel but that doesn't mean they suffer from the illness depression. We all feel like that from time to time but that does not mean we have an illness. 

The proof of this is that as soon as the stressful situation is dealt with, the depression immediately lifts and is never to be seen again. Remove the cause and the depression goes away.  Although they were annoyed or upset by unfortunate circumstances it really didn't change their inner self, views on life etc. 

I personally feel that depression is much more than a feeling of sadness, it is more than finding yourself  in a difficult situation, it is much more than feeling sick and tired of being sick and tired. Sufferers lose all confidence in themselves and life, they feel worthless, they have absolutely no hope in anything, they can't see a brighter day. Sufferers contemplate suicide and even make attempts at it, they can have trouble eating, developing anorexia or bulimia , trouble sleeping night after night and their days are filled with pure unhappiness. 

You can have money, fame and fortune and be in the darkest of despair as a sufferer.The list is endless. 'Real' depression is no joke. It can come like a thief in the night then linger around for days, months or even years slowly robbing you of existence. Some people may not even realise that they have depression because living that way has become normal to them, and they don't realise that it's the illness that is making them see things that way.


There is a big difference in feeling depressed and suffering from depression as an illness. 

Do you agree that there is a difference between hard times/the blues etc. and clinical depression?

Why are the numbers of people being prescribed anti-depressants rising year on year? Is it because more people are really depressed or is it simply that more people are coming forward? If it is the case that more people are depressed, why is this?

Why is it that in this modern society with enough food, gadgets and entertainment for all, so many of us are still desperately unhappy?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. 



64 comments:

  1. Depression in medical world is a real dysfunction and disease that impacts a great deal number of people.

    However, this world we live in are dominated by excuse searching souls for our own failures or laziness.

    It is just convinient to say I have depression. Political correctness tells people not to blame depression sufferers because once we are depressed, we can justify inactivity or failure.

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  2. Excellent post, RPD! Yes, there is a difference between feeling depressed and clinical depression, which you've elucidated pretty well here. Everyone feels depressed from time to time, but that doesn't mean they suffer from depression. Clinical depression can completely disable a person from functioning in daily life, and usually requires aggressive intervention of some sort (psychotherapy, hospitalization, a trial of anti-depressant medication, etc). There are far too many people being slapped onto anti-depressant medication, in my opinion, people who could be better treated by talking to a therapist or a friend, stress reduction, exercise, yoga and meditation, changing their diets, etc. People want a pill for everything, even at the cost of numbing all their emotions...the problem is that anti-depressants don't correct the underlying cause of the depression, they just mask the symptoms. I think many people are unhappy simply because they either live in the past (regrets & resentments) or for the future (anxiety & fear), instead of embracing their lives in the present.

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    1. Thanks Kris, I do feel that more should be done to explore the reasons why people feel depressed rather than immediately putting them on medication, unless it is clear to the doctor that serious intervention is required.

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    2. Depression is a fake disease theres no such thing as indefinite sadness you need to see the good in like pharmaceutical companies call anything a disease and prescribe usless drugs to get you addictied its all a scam for your money they know consider you to have an illness if you find yourself randomly laughing ornif you like to walk or if you want to eat healthy also if you have to go to the bathroom alot and they make these into legitimate "illnesses" its all a big scam for your money these drugs are killing you

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  3. I believe the difference between clinical depression and feeling sad is distinguishable by the reason behind the symptom of sadness.
    If someone can answer the question of why he is sad,he is not depressed.
    If someone has no reason for his sadness then he is suffering from depression. He may examine his life, searching to find an excuse for why he is sad but in the end the sadness never leaves.
    Self-help books give him only a temporary feeling of getting better. For him the self-help books are really "false hope" books.
    Sometimes talk therapy, physical exercise and stress relief help. Sometimes medication is in order.

    Here is a link to a post of mine about depression:
    http://johns-spot112948.blogspot.com/search/label/Depression

    From this post is a link to a short Mayo Clinic video which explains it better:
    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/antidepressants/MM00660/?utm_source=Other&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=HouseCall&pubDate=September%209,%202011

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    1. Thanks for the comment John and I will definitely have a look at your link about depression later.

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    2. Hi John
      I've been trying to access your link about depression but the page doesn't exist or maybe there is an error with the address above or on my part. I would really love to have a read, so if possible can you send it to me again. Thanks.

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  4. I've had an experience of what I suppose you would call 'clinical depression'. It used to happen when I was much younger. It would come and go for no apparent reason, often on a day when I should, on paper, be happy. A black cloud would settle on me making it impossible to think and filling me with a sense of utter despair and misery. I would find it impossible to sleep and at night times panic would set in. I was fortunate. It never lasted more than a day and then would lift, leaving me the same as before.

    I've been through my share of hard times and I'd say I suffered from them, but it was nothing like that black cloud. I would never compare my times of unhappiness or blues with depression. It is far worse. Like you said, depression is no joke.

    Is depression on the rise? I really don't know. In theory, I suppose I could see how modern life should make us sick. We're far more isolated from one another, the sense of community has taken a hit, at least in the urban environment. We're constantly flaunted with things we can't have and images of success that we can never achieve. We're bombarded with outside stimuli distracting from looking inwards and cultivating our inner world. Sooner or later I guess the pressure from the outside is bound to outweigh the inner gravitas that enables us to withstand it, then a person might cave in and call it depression... who knows? All I know is that I have exprienced it and it is still a mystery to me.

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    1. Shiloh, thanks for explaining about the depression you had as a young person.

      It's hard to think how one minute you can feel great and normal and then all of a sudden this 'black cloud' can completely change your thoughts and mindset into despair and misery. It's also more difficult when you cannot understand why you felt that way and what was causing it. I know you said it was a mystery, but have you ever been concerned that this depression may return?

      I also agree with your views about society flaunting us with things that we may never possess or achieve. I guess all I can say on a personal level is - know your limitations in life and accept them. We all try to achieve more but is it such a bad thing if we don't have all the spoils of life? What really counts, is what you do with what you have right now. On the other hand, having everything in life does not mean you will be exempt from depression.

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  5. Whenever someone says they're depressed, I take it with a grain of salt. There are some individuals who will say they are depressed for financial gain, attention, sympathy, etc. Most people that say there depressed do it for attention and/or their 15 minutes of fame. These people are only actually 'sad' and have the 'blues' for 10 minutes and not depression which can affect you for 10 years. Some people don't understand what depression is and label a temporary sadness.. or negative thoughts... of feeling of guilt as depression. Never less, I have learned to always keep an open mind because unless we have walked in their shoes, how can we truly know that another person may be going through.

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    1. In my profession, I do know that Depression is the most overly diagnosed medical condition. I can't stand watching those damn TV commercials ... they make me feel depressed from just watching them. Seriously, I believe that the intention of those commercials is to do just that, make us all think we are depressed so that the pharmaceutical companies can push us to buy more meds!!! I wonder how many of those CEO's of these pharmaceutical companies take anti-depression meds.

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    2. Oh yes, I see where you are coming from here. Firstly, I also tend to do more homework when someone tells me they are suffering from depression because this word is branded about quite loosely and you hit the nail on the head because I'm beginning to think that many people don't actual know what real depression is.

      Great question about the CEOs of pharmaceutical companies taking anti-depressants. I wonder! Thanks Daily Dose of Musings for your comments.

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  6. Hmmm... you bring up some very valid thoughts here. I think that the pace of life, our unrealistic expectations, and deep inner wounds from our pasts that haven't been addressed (due to our society not actually dealing with emotions in a healthy and honest way) contributes a lot to feelings of being overwhelmed, sadness, etc. Then, we are pressured to push on anyway, and because we need our employment, need to function on some level, instead of dealing with the underlying issues, we pop a pill. There are some who will need medication just to get them over a hump, until they have the mental room and energy to deal with what is really going on - but I also blame our pharmaceutical companies, who contribute to the push behind all of the 'easy prescriptions' that are filled out. It IS a real problem. How frustrating for those who are genuinely depressed, those invisible sufferers - there are no hard and fast 'proofs' to show the world, no way to 'sort' those who don't belong on medication. If you have a solution - bring it on! :)

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    1. An excellent and comprehensive summary of the problem. Sadly solutions do seem to be in short supply. But I suppose that finding the right answer begins with formulating the question in an accurate way. So perhaps, thinking carefully about what you have written here may start us on the right road. Thank you so much for your thoughtful contribution Melody.

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  7. I remember sitting in the neurologist's office, for a condition I had with constant migraines, and his treatment and talk put it all into perspective for me. Neuroscience is not an exact science, he said. Then he looked at me and said, I'm going to put you on this medication because it works, it will take away the headaches, though there is no way to tell you what is wrong, because I don't know....

    I looked at him and I just remember staring, how could he not understand what was wrong with me? My headaches, at the time, were cripling, and yet his response was, "Well the brain doesn't feel pain." I wanted to throttle him, but it made me see what modern medicine has become.

    This modern depression they diagnose by an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. So you take a pill that has those chemicals, and boom, you feel better.

    In the end, what I see happening is what is called 'hyper-boredom'. Which is normally used to describe those that have too much to pass the time with, which doesn't relieve their boredom. Take kids with an xbox and 100 games. How many of those game will get played? He will focus on only a few, then not find time for the others, and end up getting bored with it because the choice is so ambiguous that he can't really make a decision so he'll make no decision, which will leave him restless.... Its a cycle, and I watch it play out with kids nowadays.

    The more stuff you have, the more bored you are.... Even though that line doesn't make sense, I've seen it, I've seen it lead to 'depression' and 'anxiety'. Not to mention laziness....

    In the end it just boils down to drug companies pushing pills that 'work' to doctors who perscribe it to patients who really just need a wake up call and some gumption. The only way to truly beat depression is to get over it, break through it, and live life. Especially the people that are just bored.

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    1. While I agree with you that lifestyle factors often play a part, and more so, most likely, in this prosperous post industrial society we live in I still have some reservations about what you set out here. There is such a thing as genuine depression that has a medical cause because of an innate imbalance in the brain.

      If we only allow for environmental / lifestyle factors we run the risk of blaming the victim for something that is beyond their power. Having said all this, I think your point about boredom and children is very valid but, as they say, that's another post. Thank you so much Dan for your input, which was very much appreciated.

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  8. I'm always a little miffed by people who say or think they're depressed when they have no idea what it really means. I suffer clinical depression, and it means a lot more than being blue or discouraged, etc.

    Thanks for an interesting and well-written post!

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    1. Thanks for your comment here June. I kind of feel the same way, and that is what prompted me to write this post. I feel that the responses so far from various people have all been well thought out and considerate. As a sufferer I hope you feel the same way.

      Are you able to describe any more about clinical depression and how it can affect people? You are under no obligation to reply and I truly thank you for your comments.

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  9. Here again is a subject where I am a total ignoramus.

    Maybe it is luck, maybe it is just genetic building.

    I never felt depressed, oh, yes, I can be a bit sad, or often a kind of homesickness comes to dwell in me even if I have no home to be sick about, or the dreadful need to hug some person particularly overwhelmed me, but the rush of events around me takes all that 'saudade' off.

    So, reading so many critical situations, and medical events in the post is a kind of eye-opener about how many things happen in our hapless world, and I thank you all for teaching me.

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    1. Well, I'm really glad that you have not suffered or experienced the illness depression because as you can see from the comments and my post, it really is no joke.

      What you did say that struck a cord with me is 'maybe it is luck, maybe it is just generic building'. I'm no medical expert but I have been thinking if this illness can be hereditary ( you are more likely to get it, if someone in your family had it) or if it is just something that happens at anytime to anyone for no particular reason etc etc...

      If anyone knows about this, then please free to clarify and let me know.

      Thanks Untony for your comment.

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  10. First off, in recent decades mental health has (finally) been acknowledged as something real...not imaginary. That being said, since physical issues are more tangible (i.e. you either have diabetes or you don't) I think the lines get blurred when dealing with illnesses of the mind.

    Since all humans have mood swings, and feel 'blue' as you put it, from time to time, it's easy to see how some might feel obliged to diagnose themselves. Information on depression, bipolar disorder, OCD, etc. is very easily accessible and the media tends to hone in on it quite a bit. Since it's literally everywhere, many people assume they are experts.

    I think it comes down to proper education, and the medical field needs to readjust the role they play in diagnoses and drug prescriptions. If depression or other disorders were as clearly represented as diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's, or congestive heart failure, then perhaps people could recognize it as something 'they don't have' in the same way they 'don't have' cancer, etc.

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    1. Thanks Katie. Education is clearly the key as you put it, as it would be much easier for people to define whether or not they may have depression. Totally agree with you.

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  11. Rum-Punch Drunk, I totally agree. There is a big difference between feeling depressed because things are going badly and actually suffering from depression as an illness. Clinical depression is a serious illness that should be treated by a healthcare professional and is much different than having the blues. I get the blues sometimes (and I love Blues music btw, but I digress!), but then I pick myself up and I’m fine. Someone suffering from clinical depression is not able to get out of that funk and it may be linked to a chemical imbalance.

    Why are so many people being prescribed antidepressants? My cynical answer is to make $ for the big pharmaceutical companies (I think that’s very true here in the States). I also think people see all these ads (TV, magazines, Internet, etc.) for anti-depression medications and the ads are cleverly designed to make people think they Might have this problem, and they would feel oh, so much better if they take this little pill. Yes, anti-depressants can be very beneficial for those who actually need them, but I believe they are massively overprescribed.

    Why is it that in this modern society so many of us are still so seemingly unhappy? I think ups and downs have always been part of the fabric of human nature. But now we have the Internet and global media to tell us about it all the time. People can choose to be happy despite hardships in life. I think many do, but we don’t hear much about them. Again going back to some of my cynicism, pharmaceutical companies can’t make money off happy people!

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    1. So, so true what you said here.

      If you just take a look at some of those extremely poor countries I've not heard of them suffering from depression as we do. In fact, despite their desperate situations, there seems to be a serenity about them. Is it just a surface? and if they had access to drugs would they be taking them as well? Just a thought. Thanks JerseyLil

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    2. I many a times feel very very sad for no reason , or have a feeling of numbness (parents, teachers shout at me but I feel nothing,I have to study for the final exams but feel nothing no urgency just purely nothing,I fail in some exams but I don't feel anything).And then suddenly after a day or two it disappears only to return back.I left my addiction to computer(12 hours a day) two years back but since then my life has seemingly become much worse ( in terms of general mood).I sometimes also have suicidal thoughts.Parents expect me to do well in studies like I earlier did before computer but unfortunately its very hard to study anything nowadays.It didn't help that I am in 11th grade and have a lot to do.Do I have depression or is it just me wallowing.btw I have tried many self help books but somehow I always end up messing up things after3 or 4 days .
      And btw I am from India so developing countries do have the problem but I guess when you have many basic diseases like malnutrition still present not much attention is afforded to mental diseases.

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    3. Thanks for taking the time to share your personal views Ak Cruxkiller.

      I would advise anyone who is having suicidal thoughts to PLEASE seek help from a doctor, nurse, a professional counselor, a parent, family member who they can trust and/or contact a professional support group who may be able to give you help and guidance. There are people out there who are fully trained and qualified to help you deal with what's going on in your life right now.

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  12. It seems that everything has to have a label these days, no matter what you are feeling. I agree with you that you can be sad but not depressed. People need to harden up.

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  13. Not everyone who claims to be depressed is claiming clinical depression. Clinical depression is, if the doctor is competent, a long and hard diagnosis to conclude, and medication monitored quite closely, at least until regulated moods and behaviors have been established, usually after several dosage adjustments. Depression can be a result of issues in life, that is not a type of depression, that needs dealing with issues causing depression, sometimes with professional help. Clinical depression is a chemical imbalance that needs either medication or dietary attention to help balance the chemical. Is it real. YES. Is it over-diagnosed, sadly yes, and sadder still those medications are very dangerous if not needed or without proper monitoring.

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    1. Thanks Jamie for your views. What's emerging from all the comments here is that depression is a complex issue which society often speaks about in an overly simplistic way.

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  14. Depression is a very complex and not a very well understood illness. What you describe in your blog is two different levels of depression. The first part of your blog describes what is often referred to as situational depression. Situational depression is usually considered an adjustment disorder rather than true depression. It occurs when a situation is particularly hard to deal with and usually goes away once you have adapted to that situation. It is very possible for situational depression to lead to clinical depression which is what you describe later in your blog entry. Most people do not understand what it is like to suffer from a debilitating mental illness like depression and causes those to hide their disease because of the stigma associated with it (rather than declare it to others). As someone who has been battling depression for 17 years, I have been hiding in the closet too scared to tell people about it. I started my blog because I'm ready to talk.
    There are many other categories of depression which I briefly review in a blog entry here: http://findvitality.com/2012/07/09/understanding-depression/
    Do I think that antidepressants are overprescribed? Yes!
    Do I think rates of depression are rising? Maybe. I think the Standard American Diet has a lot to do with it. Our diet seriously lacks a lot of nutrients our brain and body needs and I think it's negatively impacting our mental health. Only time will tell if my theory is right.

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  15. Thank you so much Mandy for describing the differences of depression and for sharing your views. I will have a look at your reviews about depression too. It's also very interesting what you mentioned about our diet, as I don't thing that most people would think about connecting food/diet with an illness.

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    1. I made the connection between diet and depression based on my own experience. I had been in and out of a couple of depressive episodes. Did I feel good when I wasn't in the midst of a depression? Yes. But I didn't feel GREAT until I changed my diet. If you change your diet, you may be able to manage your depression over the long term. That's what I hope to accomplish with my blog.

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  16. I have suffered from depression for most of my life. It can get totally debilitating, and then there are times when it ebbs and gives me a much needed reprieve. This is one of those times for me. And I'm making hay while the sun shines, as the saying goes. I lost my job due to this most recent bout which landed me in the hospital, and despite that loss I am now feeling better than I ever have. Totally not a situational thing for me. I have started a blog now while I have the energy and clarity, and I hope it can inspire others to see that there is hope.

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    1. To lose your job as well as suffer from this recurring illness must have been very very hard on you and I cannot imagine how you must have felt especially as you had to go into hospital. It's good that you are having a reprieve at the moment, and I do hope this lasts for a long time, or should I really say I hope that you finally make a full recovery if that is possible. 
      I will in no doubt check out your posts as well, and I always admire people who despite their illness, still do their best to help and encourage others.
      Thanks Mandy for you comments.

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  17. Thanks for posting these thoughts here. I found many blogs about demystifying mental illness, but I think it cannot be prevented.
    I give thanks to those who commented honestly on this post. My diagnostic is schizophrenia since 1992, when I was 21. But lately I can say that I am also depressed, of course because of objective present conditions, not because I was thinking too much about the past. Some people say that those like me cannot enjoy the moment and get depressed because they think too much about the future for example. I don't agree with them, they are hypocrites. This is the world we live in. Others say that those like me are lazy, while the truth is that I could not find a job when I was really able to work something, they rejected me and in fact schizophrenics have no rights to work or to communicate with others. I studied in vain 23 years of school with good results. Others say that the present world is full of opportunities and entertainment...they are also hypocrites because people like me for example have money only for food for decades in their lives (for example I renounced TV, radio and any other luxury, I have only a few clothes) and maybe I will be obliged to renounce internet. I was starving many days not because of anorexia but because of money shortage. I was completely isolated 7 years. I resisted a few years without depression, making embroideries, reading, writing poems, cleaning my house. There are no other activities available for me and now it is hard. I was begging for human rights since I was 13, when my parents started to abuse me, my pleas were always rejected. I studied and understood in vain Psychology and Medicine in good universities in Bucharest. The society always acts as if the truth were the opposite of what I said since 1984, starting with my parents. It is one of the most cruel thing and I was sad to find that some think or play the game that those like me are trying to be famous because they suffer... and effectively they kill us, just because they were fortunate to have money and those like me have been poor since childhood.
    Another thing - my guess was that the percentage of depressed persons diminished in the last years. I searched on the net and my hypothesis was confirmed, at least this is what some statistics say:

    https://healthmeasures.aspe.hhs.gov/measure/26

    Please excuse my poor English. The truth is that I did only good and I received only evil in response - call me paranoid if you want. I had no sins or mistakes at all and I was obliged to tell the truth and nothing but the truth since 1984. When I was in a psychologist office, searching in vain for help, she told me that I must speak only whispering because the truth about my life and my suicide attempt is disturbing for other patients. (!! after all my good deeds in vain). But I know how others are - mean and cruel - even some other psychiatric patients I met. Call me egocentric or misanthropist if you want. I was altruistic but all of them, including doctors, think that the others have all rights and deserve everything while those who are pure goodness, like I was, deserve nothing but tortures.
    And all these happened 28 years in my life.

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing your personal views so openly here and for telling us your first hand experience of your illness and how it affected you in society.

      I admire you courage in battling with a condition that overwhelms and debilitate many. Also for having the bravery to step forward and speak about this. Who knows, it may encourage someone else to do the same.

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    2. I need to say in response that this "illness" is in fact the others' cruelty. They need those like me to be sacrificed for their well-being since ancient times. My prayers and hopes to be a free woman like them were in vain since 1984. I was always calm and I hardly changed since then (major facts about myself are the same). You don't have to admire me, I requested in vain to be an exceptional case. They say that many people suffered like me and I have no real arguments to convince them to grant me human rights (I have none). In fact if other patients like me will be so frank to speak the truth and to be answered (if they didn't do that, but they all do that, no one listens to them) it will be worse. The society cannot free all its fools or insane as they call us, because that would lead to complete chaos. I simply loved life very much and I hoped to gain the life they stole from me 28 years ago. I did not intend to make others like me speak about the truth. I have seen psychiatric patients selling their souls, inventing lies about their "illness" just to please their masters or to have some money. It is a kind of sad prostitution in order to survive. For me even that was not possible. I had nothing my whole life, I never lied and I cannot do that. The fact is that I suffered too much, much too much compared to others,continuously since 1984, I could not escape at least, and they, who have everything they need or had everything, they are those who spit dirt over God, if you know what I mean. Ungrateful creatures...I had only a few comfortable days and nights my whole life, but in a horrible context.
      Thanks anyway for your answer...anyway I am totally alone, I had no one in my life, no mails, no phone calls, no visits, absolutely nothing. It is a kind of hatred since I was a child but I could not understand them because my love for them was true and powerful.
      Wishing you to be wise, Cristina

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  18. I think your definition of depression is spot on. I've been through that and honestly I can't quite explain it. It's like life is for nothing and you feel utterly worthless and stupid. You're all quiet because you can't think, the chemicals somehow hindering your usual thought process. And anyways all you want to talk about is how you feel regretful and inadequate. All you want to do is eat and sleep. You wake up feeling a pit of despair in your stomach, and somehow you wonder what it would be like to just not wake up anymore. You're envious of other people, why everyone else seems to be happy but you. It's not a pretty picture. But once you've been through that, it's like NOTHING can ever be as difficult as what you've been through. No one who hasn't undergone depression has the right to say that it's all in the mind and you should just snap out of it.

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    1. Your description alone tell me just how serious it can be. I truly appreciate how honest and candid you have been about depression. Those that think you can just snap out of it don't really understand 'real' depression, or else they would understand that's it's more than just feeling a bit unhappy for the day.

      The more people like you speak out the sooner society can get over the unfair and ridiculous stigma that persists until now. Thank you so much William T.Co for your comment.

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  19. I think like with everything it is a sliding scale rather than an either or. I have felt very depressed at times, and I think it is partly chemical, but not to the extent that some positive thinking and exercise and healthy eating couldn't solve it. My wife however has clinical depressiong (bipolar) which is at the other end of the severity spectrum - she needs meds to just be able to cope somewhat.

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    1. This is exactly what I am talking about. What you set out so clearly here is something not everyone understands. Perhaps because they have not experience it so close to home. My real aim in writing this topic was to add my voice in order to, in some small way raise awareness, and by increasing understanding reduce the stigma and unnecessary addition of suffering to people who already have enough on their plate, that comes from misunderstandings. Thank you Robert for commenting and sharing your views.

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  20. I suffer from clinical depression. It runs in my family. One of my grandfathers committed suicide. The other was hospitalized frequently. I can't help but feel piqued when someone says they are "depressed" because they feel a little down.

    I'm a therapist, and am always surprised when someone feels that a person who needs medication is "crazy" etc. Being in the field, it's much more accepted.

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    1. Thanks June for sharing something so personal. I too have close contact with people suffering from depression and can relate to how you feel, hence me writing this post.

      I hope I'm not being over optimistic but I see society slowly moving into the direction your profession has, ie: de-bunking the irrational stigma around various forms of mental illness. Here in the UK various well respected celebrities have outed themselves in this way, and being well received, overall.

      Nevertheless, I still certain attitudes remaining very much a problem at present.

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  21. I don't think it's a real illness. If it is, where is the proof? There is a reason why I'm like this. I was diagnosed with depression in the past. True, I was sad and depressed of my situation, but it was by no means a chemical imbalance in the brain. I am glad I did not take antidepressants. Why do these pills even exist? Do they really help people? If they do, I'm willing to bet it is a REALLY SMALL majority. When I was diagnosed with something, I STARTED TO BUY into the label. The label almost became an excuse. I became lazy in my thinking. Or was I really depressed?

    What caused my "depression"? Well during this phase, I failed 9 university courses. Some of the courses 3 or 4 times in a row. Was I depressed? Or just becoming lazy? Surely if you fail that much, you will lose a lot of motivation to continue. It's also very depressing because I did so well before entering university. What caused my failure? A combination of things. Was this a chemical imbalance in the brain? I don't think so, but others did. Was I stressed out of my mind and sad? Definitely. Would antidepressants have been useful? I do not know at all. I was very scared of them when a psychiatrist prescribed them to me. In the end, I refused treatment. Is depression a real disease???

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    1. To be honest, I do not know what to think of depression. It is something really terribly hard to accept, especially when I was diagnosed with it in the past. All I know is that my lifestyle in the past increased in stress by perhaps tenfold.

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    2. No. It is only as real as you think it is.

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    3. Thanks Anonymous for sharing your experience. I'm sorry to hear you have been through a tough time. It is normal that when we go through such difficulties our mood will be lower and we'll feel worse than when everything is alright.

      BUT, when a person has real depression they go through crushing, debilitating periods of massive unhappiness etc which is hard to even describe for no reason at all, even though things can be great with their life.

      Maybe you didn't have 'real depression' but that does not mean that this illness does not exist. Please have a read of some of the above comments of people's experiences of 'real depression'.

      Thanks for sharing your views Anonymous.

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  22. When I had a miscarriage the ensuing sadness led to me being medicated. If you removed the situation (took away the fact that I had a miscarriage and that I will NEVER know if my addiction caused the death of my unborn child) then you would have definitely have removed my sadness. However that wasn't in my doctors powers. I couldn't stop crying, I couldn't eat, sleep brought nightmares of me murdering my faceless and genderless child. . . Medication was necessary because of my fluctuating hormones. The doctor explained it as postpartum depression. I didn't know that happened with miscarriages. However, when my levels were back to normal we took away the meds and I was okay. Depression is misdiagnosed sometimes though. When entering sobriety I was diagnosed as manic depressive - nope, not true. Then bipolar. I was treated for bipolar disorder. Then found out that it was, in fact, PTSD. No medication required. My opinion? Go to several doctors and get second opinions. These disorders are real, but widely misunderstood and misdiagnosed.

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    1. I should also add that bipolar disorder is sometimes an "I don't know what the heck is wrong with you, but something is, so let's stamp a label on it" fallback for some doctors. However, it is real. I had a friend in high school who committed suicide after hiding the fact that he had stopped taking his meds from his parents.

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    2. Obviously my short post has only served to scratch the tip of the ice-berg over what is a massive, multifaceted and complex issue. It also seems that doctors can and do get things wrong, this is why it is sometimes so important to get a second opinion. Thank you for sharing these personal experiences to enrich our discussion Nattie.

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  23. I nominated you for the Versatile award. Come check it out. http://deaf47.blogspot.com/p/the-versatile-award_26.html

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  24. Oh Susana, I've just only seen your message today. I will PM you. Thank you so much for thinking of me for this award.

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  25. I suffer from clinical depression and let me tell you, there is a sea between feeling "low" and suffering from clinical depression. It really irks me when people just fob you off with " you will get over it".

    No, you wont just get "over it". It is a chemical imbalance in the brain and it entirely switches your perception of things. It messes your entire way of thinking, living, social interactions. The pain is deep and very very hard to cope with as it haunts you day in and day out.

    Ugh I could go on ...

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    1. Goth Barbie, I'm so pleased you stopped by and left a comment because it is always good to hear points of views from someone who has been through an actual real life experience. Someone who can explain to us what actually happens and what if feels like.

      Please feel free to continue to get involved with the discussions here at any time as I'd love to hear from you again.

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  26. Depression's something I've struggled with my whole life. But for me, it's not all a chemical imbalance. Some people are like that, and I understand that they need anti-depressants. But for me, almost all of my depression episodes, including one I'm going through now, stemmed from poor lifestyle choices. I feel like many other people who are depressed are the same way, and they either don't realize it or refuse to accept it.

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    1. Sorry to hear that you're feeling depressed right now Jkweath. Although you said it was due to lifestyle choices, do you have other options or opportunities that can help you move out of the choices you previously made? Just curious but you don't have to answer.
      But, at least you know what the root of your depression is, and that's a good start. Thanks for openly sharing your story with us.

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  27. as has been previously stated, depression is a very complex issue and is therefore hard to define/distinguish/correctly diagnose, even for doctors. I think it's unfair to say that those suffering from low mood due to their current situation aren't true sufferers of depression, some situations are completely life altering and it's in your makeup, personality or general state of mind at the time whether you are equipped to deal with the situation or feel as though you are stuck in a bottomless pit with no light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes one moment of sadness is enough to affect you for the rest of your life, remaining like a shadow that just can't go away, at least not without taking decisive action.
    I am aware that what you have said in your article does have some basis in fact, but if you are speaking about feeling encouraged that the world is gradually heading in the right direction with view points and treatment of mental illness, you should also consider stating that some people are misinformed or don't know what true depression is may put some people off who are true sufferers but feel as though they don't know enough, and maybe they aren't truly depressed. I would therefore think it kinder not to get annoyed if a friend says they 'feel depressed' when really they are just blue, just take the time to talk through people's problems with them, from blue to clinically depressed and do the best you can to make them happy.
    Interesting article and comments from everyone! p.s. from taking a psychology degree, I have come to understand there are a multitude of reasons for depression which can be hereditry, caused by imbalance, situational or reasons unknown, diet and lifestyle can be factors amongst various other things. antidepressants have high success rates but vary on how they attempt to treat the symptoms and therefore there is no 'one drug fits all' but personally I think (especially if you feel you know why you are depressed) talking to a professional is key, perhaps look into cognitive behavioural therapy, group or individual. Even if you don't know why you feel depressed though, perhaps you'll find through talking to someone, the answers will begin to become more clear. Good Luck! :) Natalie.

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    1. Natalie. I think you misread a little of what I stated in this post. I was saying that just because someone is feeling low and/or finds themselves in a bad situation, it doesn't mean they 'automatically' suffer from depression. I tried to explain my point in paragraph 2, 3 and 4 of the post. I also mentioned in the 6th paragraph:
      'Some people may not even realise that they have depression because living that way has become normal to them, and they don't realise that it's the illness that is making them see things that way'.

      I totally agree with your comments about reasons for depression, there is 'no one drug fits all' and about speaking to professionals and the different types of therapy.

      Thank you so much for your comment Natalie and I hope to hear more from you again soon :)

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  28. Depression is bullshit most the time. I've seen truly depressed people, and they aren't the norm. What they should call it is "life". Yeah, life is not meant to be a bouncy house with unicorns and rainbows. The shit is hard. You have to feel it to get through it. Instead, nobody wants to feel anything other than happiness, so they stuff a pill at it and walk around like zombies. I know some people need that medication to get through, but none of the people I know that take that stuff actually need it. They're just suffering from life. Good post.

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    1. Yeah, life does have a lot of ups and downs. We shouldn't expect to be happy all of the time, but at least some of the time. However, there is a point where regardless to what happens around us we just can't pluck ourselves out of that pit and that is the time to start thinking about getting help.

      On the other hand, medicating people who have nothing wrong with them is counterproductive. Nice to hear from you Larry and sorry for the delay in replying.

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