What is Depression, the illness?

It is not madness.  It is a temporary breakdown in the balance of chemicals in your brain, as a result of stress.  These chemicals (known as neurotransmitters) allow us to experience happiness, enjoy various aspects of our life, think clearly, and have the motivation and energy to carry out our normal activities in life.


Depression is like a heart attack. After a period of stress build-up, part of your functioning collapses, causing you great pain, difficulty functioning, and in some cases putting your life at risk.

When depression takes a grip on you, you slowly lose these abilities and become more sad and anxious.  Your mind and your body become slowed up, like being slowly PARALYSED.  In many ways, depression is like having a BROKEN BONE.  It is painful.  It makes every daily task much harder.  depression can lead to permanent pain and permanent problems if it is not cured properly.  In fact, the chances of any one of us suffering depressive illness at some time in our life are much higher than the chances of breaking a bone!  Many people suffering from depressive illness state they would far prefer to have broken a bone.  Broken bones are easier to understand than this creeping sickness.  People with broken bones get sympathy and help from family and friends without question.  Those with depressive illness seem okay on the outside, so help is not automatically given by others who are more likely instead to complain you are not the person you used to be, or not doing the tings you used to do.  It is not easy being “THE WALKING WOUNDED”, carrying unrecognized internal injuries from the battles of everyday life.


Depressive illness in many ways is like a COMPUTER VIRUS, which secretly takes over your brain, telling you that everything is too hard, too sad, too meaningless, and too much effort anyway.  This information, sent from your brain, seems as real as ever, but is totally distorted in fact.


Depression is like a FILTER that descends over your brain, keeping out all the positives of life.  Only negatives from the present (and from the past also) are allowed space in your mind, and all negatives are greatly magnified.


Suffering depressive illness is like WEARING GLASSES.  It takes a lot of trust in your family, friends and doctors to believe the world has not become a dark and frightening place, but that your glasses have become very black and distorted, due to your illness.  It also takes a lot of trust to believe the medical reality that nearly every depressive illness can be cured!


At its worst, depression is like being taken over by a life-threatening alien. You become very different to your normal self, those around you may comment on the difference in you, and the alien tries to kill you by telling you lies and pushing you towards suicide.


Important Disclaimer:  This site is medical information only, and is not to be taken as diagnosis, advice or treatment, which can only be decided by your own doctor.

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