What is Depression?


Depression is a word often used to describe our feelings. Everyone feels gloomy or fed up from time to time. Such feelings are a normal part of the emotional ups and downs of life. But, true depression is something else altogether. One way to understand the distinction is to think of mood and emotions in terms of the climate and weather. The climate sets the broad framework within which the weather varies but it doesn’t change that much from what you’d expect. In the same way the mood sets the framework within which emotions operate. A disorder like depression affects mood, and is similar to radical changes in the climate rather than emotional outbursts which stem from particular problems and are usually short lived. The core symptoms of depression are:
  • Lowered mood.
  • Loss of energy and interest.
  • A feeling of physical illness or of being rundown.
  • Poor concentration.
  • Altered appetite and sleep.
  • A slowing down of physical and mental functions.
In addition, many genuine physical problems, such as heartburn, indigestion, constipation, headaches or altered periods often go hand in hand with depression. This happens so commonly that many people focus on these problems without realizing they are depressed. But it is probably the relentless feeling of hopelessness, helplessness, guilt and anxiety.