Feeling upset or under the weather is all part of life and will generally subside after a short period of time, may it be hours or days. Depression however lasts much longer, for weeks, months and even years in some cases.
Depression is a very common illness and will affect around 1 in 5 people at some point in their life, between 5 and 10 percent of people will suffer from the illness at any one time. Depression initiates negative thoughts and feelings, feelings of hopelessness and the inability to look into the future.
A lot of people who are unfamiliar with depression may refer to someone with this illness as lazy, selfish, useless, weak and pathetic. All this does however is confirms in the mind of the depressed that they are at fault, this further leads into a darker and deeper state of depression.
When in a deep state of depression, it can be extremely difficult to break out of this illness. It is not a weakness nor is it a joke, depression can cause someone to make drastic decisions such as those of suicide. Feeling that there is no point living, not being able to see into the future or care about anything or anyone are common feelings attached to depression and it is very difficult to remove these thoughts.
Depression can be placed in two different categories; these situational or reactive depression and clinical.
Situational / Reactive depression
Reactive depression as I will call it is based on a specific trigger or reason; it is in direct result of something specific happening. This could be down to many different reasons such as loss of employment, stress, marital problems, bereavement, family issues, moving house, criminal proceeding among many others. Feeling associated with depression will appear within 3 months of the trigger and can affect you both physically and emotionally. The severity of this can be, although usually not as harmful as other forms of depression as there is a reason to it, it is much easier to deal with, and once the circumstances have been eradicated the depression should reduce and in many cases eventually disappear.
This is usually associated with a chemical imbalance in the brain, chemicals that control the body's mood and thoughts. Clinical depression is generally the more severe form of depression as there is no specific situation that starts the illness. Outside stresses such as those involved in reactive depression will make clinical depression more dangerous and can occasionally tip someone over the edge. Clinical depression will or more likely affect almost every part of your life, from work to family time with no real reasoning for it, this can make you feel like there is no cure to this horrible illness. Thoughts of harming or suicide are more prevalent in clinical depression than reactive depression; however this is not to say these thoughts do not occur in both situations.
Symptoms of depression
Symptoms of depression can come on gradually rather than immediate, this can make it difficult to notice something is wrong. Others close to you such as family and friends can usually be the best indicator something is different or that your mood has changed.
The most common symptoms associated with depression are: