Excerpt #1 of Lynn Crilly's 'Hope with Depression' - How is depression different from feeling low?
Posted by SANE
20th Jan 2020

How is depression different from feeling low?

One of the most common misconceptions surrounding depression is that it is comparable to feeling a little sad or down. Many people who suffer from depression do feel sadness, but true depression is very different from just feeling low. Bernice explains how depression is more than just having the blues:

“I became aware of my depression when I suddenly lost my job. I knew it was more than just a case of feeling down. It persisted for a long period of time, weeks turning into months. After realising a year had gone by and i still felt no different, I knew something had to be done.”

Sadness and low feelings generally resolve themselves after a relatively short period of time, usually a matter of weeks. Feeling this way is a normal reaction to things that happen in life, and when hard times hit, it is absolutely natural to be plunged into a bleak mood. Similarly, it is normal to be anxious about challenges in life and feeling worried or nervous is a sign that our body’s natural stress response is working properly. Depression, on the other hand, extends beyond sadness. It persists and deepens, seeping into many, if not all, areas of life and may leave those with this debilitating and draining mental illness struggling to cope on both a mental and a physical level, often losing interest in the world around them.

Claire, who is in recovery from clinical depression and anxiety, describes how her depression was more than feeling low:

“Completely empty and numb. It is the only way I can describe it. The lack of reasoning, interest in your surroundings and family, kids, jobs etc. The feeling of hopelessness, that you are a failure, that you are no good at anything. A waste of space, ugly, like a big black cloud is constantly sitting with you, holding you tightly and not letting you escape.”

Depression is a serious mental illness, which you cannot simply ‘snap out of’, or ‘cheer up’ by trying to think positively. The feelings of despair, lethargy, anxiety and emptiness that may characterise someone’s depression are very real and should be acknowledged as such rather than dismissed or glossed over.

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