Depression is a nebulous term which connotes with it much doubt and skepticism. In religious circles it can oftentimes be scorned as an excuse for sin, however, depression is a real and difficult mental disorder which requires treatment and understanding just as a physical disorder.
A cardiac patient may be overweight and this may lend to his cardiac problems, still one cannot deny that he has a cardiac problem which will require treatment. In the same way, while some individuals with depression may have lifestyle issues which lend to their depressive issues, this cannot remove the fact that there is a depression issue that requires treatment.
Depression is a prolonged period of sadness or lack of emotion. One may experience normal human sadness when one suffers through a traumatic event – such as the death of a loved one, illness, a car accident, abuse, or etc. But as time passes this form of sadness should be replaced by a new desire for life and a new joy and happiness in everyday living.
This natural depression is not something that can be willed away or even should be. It is natural to experience emotions or lack of emotions after a traumatic event. However, if these emotions fail to be replaced by normal emotions after an extended period of time, or if there was never a traumatic event that led to these depressive emotions, one needs to consider that one is suffering from a depressive episode.
Depression is like a blanket. It is wet and heavy and stifles the sufferer. Under this blanket they feel a lack of motivation, sometimes a lack of impulse control (e.g. eating too much to relieve the pain), and a sense of hopelessness. Depression can come upon a person at any time and for no reason. One could be happy one second and the next moment be thrown into the depths of despair.
In my personal experiences with depression I have experienced the following symptoms:
- Suicidal Thoughts – A desire to end ones life because of the constant pain which one endures.
- Pain Eating – That is, eating with a desire to relieve pain rather than out of a need for food or an enjoyment of food.
- Hopelessness – A profound sense of hopelessness and lack of purpose which results in an immobility that paralyzes one from utilizing life or loving others.
- Isolation – A desire to remove oneself from other people, it simply takes too much effort to be around them.
- Lack of Emotion – An inability to feel happiness or sadness at appropriate times. Sometimes an inappropriate display of emotion (e.g. laughter at pain).
- Lack of Desire – A loss of desire for everything, including activities that brought pleasure (e.g. movies, friends, sports, cars).