Frequently Asked Questions
can be difficult for the person with the illness, as well as their
friends and families...
...to help you understand more
about depression and the devastating affects that it can have on the
person with depression, as well as those around them, I have put
together the top 5 most
frequent questions that people ask me.
Here they are:
Q1: What is depression?
A: Depression is more than
just a low mood - it is a medical condition, a serious illness that CAN be treated. It is normal to feel sad, low
or moody when events happen in your life, such as the loss of a loved
one or a relationship breakup.
But there are those people who experience
these feeling so intensely and for long periods of time. These people
may have depression. An interesting statistic is that depression is one of the most
common of all mental health problems.
One in five people experience
depression at some stage of their lives.
Q2: What is the difference
between these "normal" feelings of sadness and the feelings associated
INTENSITY and LENGTH
of the mood is the difference. Let me explain.
Depression is much more intense than a simple bad mood, and lasts for
at least two weeks or longer. Because of the intensity and length of
the mood, a person with depression may find it difficult to fully
function on a day-to-day basis. For example, they may neglect their
health, avoid going to work or school and not even want to get out of
Q3: Is there a cure for
A: I have asked this question
many times to the various mental health practitioners that I have
encountered over my 20 year journey with depression. And the answer
that I have most often been supplied with is "no".
But here is the most important part. Even though there may not be a
cure for depression, there is absolutely nothing stopping a person with
depression, from living a happy, fulfilling and successful life.
I am certainly living proof
that if you get the right treatment for depression, then there is a
great life ahead of you.
Q4: What is the difference
between depression and bipolar disorder?
A: Both depression and bipolar
are treatable illnesses. Bipolar disorder (which used to be called
manic depression), involves extreme changes in mood - both periods of
feeling low (depressed) and high (mania). This is why it is known as
"bipolar" disorder as a person's mood alternates between "poles" of
People with bipolar disorder
have these extreme moods that may not relate to what is happening in
their lives. But people with depression (that would be me!), do not
experience these highs and lows - we just feel lousy all the time -
until we obtain the correct treatment.
Q5: I think that someone I know
has depression, what should I do?
A: This is a
great question! Depression is an illness that requires
treatment, just like any other illness.
Think about it like this. If you
know someone that seems to be always short of breath and has difficulty
breathing, you may correctly think that they have asthma.
Now, do you think that it would be a good idea to just let that
person's breathing continue to deteriorate or would you do something
Of course, you would try to help that person by suggesting that they go
to their doctor, or if they are reluctant to go, offer to go with them.
See the similarity? Both
depression and asthma are illnesses that need medical treatment.
I had depression for at least
5 years before I was correctly diagnosed with the illness.
And to be totally honest, I went through living hell during those 5
point being that early diagnosis of depression is essential to help
someone you know.
The person whom you suspect
has depression may avoid going to their doctor because they are ashamed
or embarrassed. This is
EXACTLY how I felt. I did not want to be labeled as having
a mental illness such as depression, because that would mean I am
crazy. Right? WRONG!
My depression has nothing to
do with my sanity, but because of all the stigma that society has
attached to mental illness, many people do not seek treatment, just as
I didn't. This is a dangerous decision and may have fatal consequences.
must be treated. Encourage and assist the person in getting help.
This is what my best friend did. She made the doctor's appointment for
me and went with me to the appointment. She took ACTION
and I believe that by doing so, she literally saved my life.
If you think someone might be depressed, then please do something about
it to help them...
..there is hope out there, and
trained mental health people who can assist in the treatment of
A person's depression will
always be there, however, if you help them to seek treatment then their
future will look so much brighter and they will feel happier and more
content with themselves.
Reproduction without permission prohibited.