Feeling down from time to time is a normal part of life, but when emotions such as hopelessness and despair take hold and just won’t go away, you may have depression. Depression makes it tough to function and enjoy life like you once did. Just getting through the day can be overwhelming. But no matter how hopeless you feel, you can get better. Learning about depression—and the many things you can do to help yourself—is the first step to overcoming the problem.
Depression is a mental health disorder. Specifically, it is a mood disorder characterized by persistently low mood in which there is a feeling of sadness and loss of interest.
Depression is a persistent problem, not a passing one – the average length of a depressive episode is 6-8 months.
Depression is different from the fluctuations in mood that we all experience as a part of a normal and healthy life. Temporary emotional responses to the challenges of everyday life do not constitute depression.
Likewise, even the feeling of grief resulting from the death of someone close is not itself depression if it does not persist. Depression can, however, be related to bereavement – when depression follows a loss, psychologists call it a “complicated bereavement.”