Do you say "I'm depressed"? Do you do that often? Do you hear others often saying it? Pity. That is one of the most misused words in psychology. Because failure to get a correct and proper treatment often leads to frustration, giving up, disappointment in therapy, help and sometimes even life.
Very formally, depression is defined as "characterised by the presence or history of one depressive episode when there is no history of prior depressive episodes. A depressive episode is characterised by a period of almost daily depressed mood or diminished interest in activities lasting at least two weeks accompanied by other symptoms such as difficulty concentrating, feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt, hopelessness, recurrent thoughts of death or suicide, changes in appetite or sleep, psychomotor agitation or retardation, and reduced energy or fatigue" in ICD.
In my chest of associations depression is a flat air balloon, where the role of air is played by the life energy and joy. We simply lack force. Things are not fun (by the way, there is a scientific term for that as well, it is called anhedonia).
Depression may appear as different things. As mentioned above - as sad mood (but there also is "smiling depression"), disrupted sleep (but there also are people who cannot get out of bed), loss of appetite (also there are people who cannot stop eating), apathy (but depression may come together with anxiety). It is not very easy to diagnose depression clearly, or define it, probably this is why we need the metaphors. It also may be that a person is cranky, irritable, aggressive, defiant, oppositional (which leads to diagnosis of attention or behavior disorders). It may as well be that you only have an unexplained pain in your knee, heal or bowels, and nothing else. Sometimes ones says "bad mood, no motivation, burnout" - but it is still may be depression. Or may be not!
So let's agree to leave the word depression for medical use, and call things as they are - sad, frustrated, bored, angry, no fun. Everyone will only benefit from that.
Photo: Dimitri Houtteman from Pixabay
My name is Monika, I am psychologist. I help to deal with daily and difficult questions about behavior, thinking, emotions. I write, counsel and teach.
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