Unfortunately, depression is a very misunderstood word and disease. Let’s see, why.
What is actually depression?
Depression is actually a state, which can be described by just a few words:
- Low mood;
Lots and lots of people have ever experienced this kind of mood, but most of us have had only a mild form of depression, which doesn’t mean it’s a pleasant thing, of course, but its effects don’t usually last for long (and they are not usually severe).
Well, let’s start from the very beginning. So, there are actually two things people call a depression, and they have completely different meanings.
The first generally accepted meaning of the word “depression” is about the depressive disorder. The doctors call it “major depressive disorder” and understand it as problems with energy levels, concentration, focus, memory, and the ability to live and to perform well at all. The doctors agree that this state is much more about the headache and pain in brain. The main reason is that such a disorder influences the pain circuitry in your brain. The additional reason is that the depressive disorder is usually neurotoxic (it means that this disorder is a neurotoxic illness, which interrupts the nervous system activity and damages neurons). Depression can suppress the levels of some hormones in your body, and the death of lots of neurons can be the result of this neurotoxicity. In simple words, we can surely say that depression isn’t just unpleasant, but also dangerous to your brain.
But the second one is much more common among the majority of people. When we say, “I’m depressed” in real life, we don’t usually talk about the major depressive disorder. It’s quite simpler — and a little bit more complicated at the same time. So, in our everyday conversations, when we talk about depression, we usually mean some kind of synonym for the word “sadness”. Have you ever heard about people who felt “depressed” when they missed a TV show episode? That’s what we are talking about —it’s a common situation when a patient exaggerates his problems and says that he is depressed even if his real state is very far from a real depression.
Actually, the right word is “dysphoria”, not “depression”. That’s about the sadness the majority of people confuse with depression. Dysphoria is a reaction to the negative events in your life, and of course, it’s very unpleasant, but it’s not a depression, because it’s not neurotoxic, it can’t kill your neurons and it doesn’t usually influence the ability to perform and to function. Moreover, another major difference between dysphoria and depression is that the latter usually lasts for long while dysphoria usually doesn’t. Severe cases of depression can last for a few months and years even, and the last difference is that dysphoria can (in the absolute majority of cases) be treated by a support from your loved ones, and encouragement, while depression can be a serious problem which should be treated with medications and under the doctor’s control.
So the problem is that people often confuse the word “depression”. Very often, people say “I am depressed” when they are really sad, have problems with their families or just feel unpleasant. But the real depression is much more complicated, and this disorder is a real problem that should be treated by the professionals.
Lots of people misunderstand this word the same as their problems, but what you should know is that you should check your feelings before telling your doctor that you have a depression. Are you sure it’s a real depression? Or maybe it’s just a problem that can be treated by additional support and care, not by medications and doctors”
The thing you must remember is that (whether it’s a real depression or just sadness), you are not alone and there are people around you, people who love you and who are ready to offer their support.