depression or depressed
Do i have depression or am i just depressed?
by Jamal Ross
The word “depression” is a common term that is used loosely at times to describe someone’s emotional state following a major life event, such as the loss of a job or a loved-one. However, there is a difference between feeling depressed and dealing with major depressive disorder or another depressive syndrome. We all can feel depressed without being depressed. Let’s find out more about the difference between feeling depressed and battling major depressive disorder.
A depressed mood speaks to how someone feels. It can be seen in someone’s countenance. A facial expression can appear flat with a lack of emotional. There can be avoidance of eye contact. Having a depressed mood means someone feels sad, “blue,” “numb,” “down in the dumps” or as if they have no feelings at all. Also, someone with a depressed mood can be irritable or “cranky” at times. It is important to note that some can feel depressed without having major depression. While we all have days where we feel down, with major depression these feelings occur on most days for at least 2 weeks. With major depression disorder, day to day activity and job performance can be impacted negatively. Also, with major depressive disorder there is a loss in the interest of activities or hobbies that used to bring someone joy. This is called anhedonia. With major depressive disorder, a depressed mood and anhedonia are present. (1)
It is also important to remember that sadness and grief are not than same as major depressive disorder. A separation, divorce, loss of a job or a loved-one are major life events that are difficult to endure. It is normal to experience sadness and grief in these situations. The grieving process is natural response to a major life event and is unique to each person. (2) If your sadness and grief is persistent for more than 6 months, speak with your doctor. This can be considered a prolonged grief disorder. (3)
It is important to choose and use our words carefully as to avoid labeling ourselves and others incorrectly. Remember, we can feel depressed without having depression. We can experience sadness and grief without having depression. Even when dealing with major depressive disorder or another depression related syndrome, it is important to realize this condition does not define nor belong to us. It is not our identity. Our identity is in Christ alone. Remember, “in all things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37) Depression, or any other illness, does stand a chance against God. I look forward to you becoming better and enjoying all things in life.
1. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.)
2. American Psychiatric Association. What is Depression? Available at: https://psychiatry.org/patients-families/depression/what-is-depression (Accessed on May 26, 2022)
3. Shear K, Reynolds FC, Simon MN, Zisook S. Prolonged grief disorder in adults: Epidemiology, clinical features, assessment, and diagnosis. In: UpToDate, Solomon D. (Eds), UpToDate, Waltham, MA (Assessed May 26, 2022)