Tremendous confusion arises from the fact that we use the same word, “depression,” to describe two sometimes similar but more often radically different conditions. Everyone feels depressed from time to time. It’s a natural human emotion that often accompanies the loss of a loved one or relationship, a serious medical crisis, or even a very stressful situation. Everyone has felt a little down or “blue” from time to time. We feel depressed for a few days but then “snap out of it.” We’ve probably learned things to help ourselves get through the down days. There is another kind of “depression” that’s sometimes called “clinical depression.” This is a medical illness that can last for weeks, months, even years. Although some of the feelings are similar to those most of us feel when we’re “blue” for a few days, the feelings are much more intense and long lasting for those who suffer from “clinical depression.” This medical illness we call “clinical depression” can bring intense emotional, cognitive, social, and physical changes for the one who suffers through it. Just like other medical conditions, “clinical depression” often requires professional assistance. Part of the problem we encounter from the confusion of “depression” with “clinical depression” is that those who do not suffer from “clinical depression” have difficulty understanding why the person suffering from it just can’t “pull themselves out of it” like one does with the “blues.” This can then lead to accusations like, “You’re just not trying hard enough,” or “You just want attention because you could pull yourself out of this if you wanted,” or even, “You must have weak faith, because if you just prayed harder and turned it over to God you’d feel better.” Then the person without “clinical depression” loses patience and feels helpless because they can’t help the other stop the awful feelings. Helplessness is an awful feeling in and of itself, so it’s not unusual for it to get turned into annoyance and anger. The person suffering often feels worse because they’ve “failed again.” 

Teen depression kills more teens than any other medical illness in our country. For more information on depression in adults and teenage depression follow the underlined links.


~ by revgenelson on March 7, 2009.

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