Depression Doesn’t Need an Explanation

By Laura Greenstein | Jan. 29, 2018

 

Most people will experience depression, or extreme sadness, at some point in their life. It’s the pain you feel when you lose a loved one. It’s the emptiness that lingers while going through a difficult breakup. It’s the lack of fulfillment during a period of unemployment. Depression is a natural emotional reaction to traumatic events or major changes in a person’s life.

Although, for 16 million adults, depression is not due to any negative occurrence or life change. Rather, it’s a chronic and/or cyclical state they experience regularly. In other words, it is a clinical and medical condition. And it is more severe than situational depression and can include intense symptoms such as suicidal ideation.

While Depression, the condition, and depression, the feeling, (capitalization used for distinction) can appear quite similar, there is one very important difference: Those with Depression often don’t have a “reason” for why they’re depressed—they just are.

While it is possible that a person with Depression can be triggered into a depressive episode by an external stressor, their symptoms won’t go away once the stressor is removed. For a person with depression, they will likely only have symptoms until they cope with whatever triggered the symptoms.

Those with Depression are frequently stigmatized and misunderstood due to this distinction. People will show endless compassion to a person experiencing depression due to the passing of a loved one, but not to a person who just can’t help but feel sad all the time.

This misunderstanding occurs because people often don’t know how to respond to someone if they don’t know the reason for their pain. For a person with depression, you can reassure them that the pain will fade and time will heal. But saying that to a person with Depression would be both inaccurate and unhelpful.

If you’ve ever experienced depression, think back to that time and recall how difficult it was. Now, imagine what living like that every day must feel like. Imagine what it must feel like to not have the motivation to leave your bed for months at time or for it to be an accomplishment to move from your bed to your couch. Imagine what it’s like to feel as if you’re drowning in darkness.

Keep this in mind when you’re interacting with a person experiencing Depression: Don’t judge or stigmatize them for not knowing the root of their symptoms. Telling someone they “don’t have a reason to be depressed” is the same as telling a person with asthma: “The air seems fine to me.”

You may not fully understand what is causing someone to miss days of work, skip showers or cancel plans. But when it comes to Depression, “Why do you feel this way?” is not the important question. The important question is: “What can I do to support you?”

 

Laura Greenstein is communications manager at NAMI.

Comments
depression
Best explanation for depression.i searched so many blogs but i couldn't find like this. so good stuff that you are provided in this blog. this blog is nice thank you for providing this.you are explained it so nicely, those explanation skills were really great,once again thank you.

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9/17/2018 4:29:55 AM

Barbara Bate
I have long lived with deep depression at some times, along with anxiety and confusion, but at other times I find life amazing and valuable and fun. After discovering that bipolar depression is a widespread and often misunderstood illness I recognize how many ways we can suffer but also strive to be strong and caring individuals. Each of our stories matters.
7/11/2018 9:39:23 PM

Robbin Fordeh
Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses in the United States, affecting more than 16 million men and women (almost 6.7 percent of the adult population) and 3.1 million adolescents. It is a serious mental illness in which feelings of sadness, hopelessness, loss of interest, anger, frustration, or other negative emotions like irritability (especially in adolescents) last for weeks or years and interfere with daily life. All people experience moments when they feel sad or blue, but these feelings usually pass within a couple of days and are not indicative of depression. According to EverydayHealth.com depression can cause deep emotional pain both to the person experiencing it and, often, to that person’s close family and friends. Thankyou for sharing this
amazing post," Depression dosen't need Explation". My sister is coping with depression relapse,
I appreciate your inputs,it help's me understand my self and find answers to " What can I do to support you" and help her better.
6/26/2018 6:10:55 AM

Julia Guerra
By far, the best explanation of living with depression. I am a 55 year old thriver. No longer only a survivor but now I am thriving because I have support. Blessed to know and feel the hope.
2/7/2018 9:19:50 AM

Joyce Ruckman
Donna, I can so relate to you on some fronts. I too work in a church office. Have you considered asking for help to pay for therapy- or maybe your church has a counseling ministry of some sort? Does your church have a care ministry- sometimes people will donate cars.
That is great you took the NAMI classes but you can also go to weekly meetings with others like yourself. I found both very helpful. Can you see your doctor about your emotional issues- could it be age related. I will pray for you dear sister.
2/1/2018 4:27:46 PM

Noelle Warner
I'm in tears.. I've never, all this time, ever heard someone else muttter the same words I've been telling my family/friends ..noone gets it..I swear I practically said the exact same scenario to a FB friend who reached out to me yesterday.. VALIDATION feels good.
2/1/2018 3:09:53 PM

Ellen Barnes
If someone were paralyzed-you could see it, with depression, it’s an illness you cannot visualize, making people doubt you. It’s a constant struggle to try and prove to others that luckily do not suffer from depression that you are truly sick. It’s just another hurdle we must face everyday. Thank you for putting into words.
2/1/2018 10:20:09 AM

EB
Thank You...
1/31/2018 11:58:26 PM

Glenn Ford
I definitely agree with Laura concerning the need for empathy and understanding towards depression. We need to break the stigma.
Causation is a matter that must, however, be addressed. Albeit in a positive and sometimes concerted manner. Laura mentions that depression is a clinical and medical condition, which is absolutely correct: neurobiological. Thus said we must consider the Millions of people who sustain and live with brain injuries (all forms). These people more likely than not experience depression, PTS, anxiety, or related diagnosis as part of their overall condition. If the medical, physical, cognitive and yes, the emotional (mental) side of this disease are not diagnosed, treated and the person given appropriate supports, then too often the person is doomed to failure.
The root cause of significant depression can be a very important factor in proper treatment and helping with that person's resiliency in recovery OR as we say for People with a brain injury: "living with a new self awareness..."
1/31/2018 8:47:31 PM

Glenn Ford
I definitely agree with Laura concerning the need for empathy and understanding towards depression. We need to break the stigma.
Causation is a matter that must, however, be addressed. Albeit in a positive and sometimes concerted manner. Laura mentions that depression is a clinical and medical condition, which is absolutely correct: neurobiological. Thus said we must consider the Millions of people who sustain and live with brain injuries (all forms). These people more likely than not experience depression, PTS, anxiety, or related diagnosis as part of their overall condition. If the medical, physical, cognitive and yes, the emotional (mental) side of this disease are not diagnosed, treated and the person given appropriate supports, then too often the person is doomed to failure.
The root cause of significant depression can be a very important factor in proper treatment and helping with that person's resiliency in recovery OR as we say for People with a brain injury: "living with a new self awareness..."
1/31/2018 8:46:52 PM

Diane Barnett
Both as a consumer who personally suffered from depression as well as a Peer Specialist presently working in a respite, often the best thing is just to listen and sit silently by letting them know they matter
1/31/2018 8:43:50 PM

Donna J Kurtz
I don't have reliable transportation. My money situation is on the edge so cannot pay for expensive therapy. I am an older mom who feels that her body is going to hell in a handbasket with something new every day. I have a teenage boy who is sick and tired of me bursting into tears at what he feels is everything. It is just the two of us in a one bedroom apartment. I have attended NAMI classes and they were great (about my son's issues etc.. he is very high functioning .. thank God.) How do I connect with someone? every day I think I will call NAMI to ask but then I saw this post (I work in a church office )
1/30/2018 5:20:07 PM

Donna J Kurtz
I don't have reliable transportation. My money situation is on the edge so cannot pay for expensive therapy. I am an older mom who feels that her body is going to hell in a handbasket with something new every day. I have a teenage boy who is sick and tired of me bursting into tears at what he feels is everything. It is just the two of us in a one bedroom apartment. I have attended NAMI classes and they were great (about my son's issues etc.. he is very high functioning .. thank God.) How do I connect with someone? every day I think I will call NAMI to ask but then I saw this post (I work in a church office )
1/30/2018 5:19:25 PM

Emily
Thank you... I have depression and this sums up well the struggle
1/30/2018 10:29:39 AM

P
Yes.
1/30/2018 3:51:20 AM

Lizanne Corbit
This is the most important thing - "The important question is: “What can I do to support you?” When people with depression feel like they're supported, rather than trying to be figured out, it can make a great deal of difference. Wonderful read.
1/29/2018 4:42:34 PM