Hello Darkness, My Old Friend – aka Major Depression
Are you depressed? Super loaded question, right? And what does that even mean? This question is so misunderstood in my opinion and I think that society’s misinterpretation of this phrase and in particular, the word “depressed”, has led to a lot of the stigma we see around mental health today. Here’s what I mean by that. Did you know there are nine different types of depression? NINE! There’s Major Depression, Persistent Depressive Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), Psychotic Depression, Peripartum (Postpartum) Depression, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), Situational Depression, and Atypical Depression. Symptoms from the types listed above range anywhere from mild and temporary to persistent, unending, and torturous. I think a lot of time, when people think of depression, they think of Situational Depression. It’s the type where you can have a depressed mood because of what you’re going through in life at that current moment. It can be brought on by any number of things like losing your job, death in the family, etc. Being depressed by any of these situations is completely normal and what a doctor might call “stress response syndrome”. The big thing about Situational Depression is that it is short term. Some people need therapy and medication to get through it, some don’t. And because of that, I believe a large majority of people think depression is just something that passes and something that can be “snapped out of”. That is true to a certain extent, but only if what a person is experiencing is Situational Depression.
I do not have Situational Depression. I have what’s called Major Depression (can also go by the name of Clinical Depression). To be technically diagnosed with it, you need to have five or more of the symptoms on most days, for two weeks or longer. The other bummer part about Major Depression is that it isn’t brought on by anything in particular. It just is… and it sucks. For a lot of people, this type of depression can run in your family’s genes. My mother has it, my grandfather had it. It was only luck of the draw that out of my mom’s two children, I was the one it was passed down to. Therapy, medication, and running help to manage my symptoms. Those symptoms can include sadness, trouble concentrating, feeling worthless, loss of interest in things I love, etc. Right now, as of this writing, I feel great and don’t have any of those symptoms and I’m so thankful for that.