Depression is one of the most impactful, but lesser known and even more less observed illnesses known to man. Although most of us have heard of depression at some point in our lives, very few people actually know what it is and how it affects our community
So What is Depression?
Depression is known by most as a sad mood, which usually lasts for a few hours, or in more serious situations–several days. But this is a shorthand version of what is known as “clinical depression.” Depression is basically a brief bad mood which is a normal part of life. Everyone experiences depression at some point in their lives. It’s a part of the basic emotional ebb and flow of the human experience. You might be depressed that your favorite team lost in the NBA finals (hell, I was). Or you may be depressed about something more serious like a breakup or failing a test in school. Depression typically fades pretty quickly and does not cause many–if any at all–impairments in a person’s day-to-day activities. But clinical depression is a mental ILLNESS that has many mood-altering symptoms. Although clinical depression is very common, many people never experience it. And its often confused with regular depression which everyone experiences. This confusion is mainly because most people use the two terms interchangeably, and have limited understanding of clinical depression beyond the sad mood.
Clinical depression, also known as major depressive disorder is a persistent sad mood on more days than not, for a period lasting at least two weeks. Clinical depression–for many–looks a lot like laziness because clinically depressed people tend to sleep and lounge around for extended periods of time, as fatigue (low energy) and an increased need for sleep are some of the most common symptoms of clinical depression.
It’s easy for someone who doesn’t know the signs of clinical depression to confuse laziness with clinical depression because most people don’t know fatigue is a significant aspect of clinical depression.
Another part of clinical depression that may disguise itself as laziness is lack of interest in activities that used to be enjoyable or rewarding. So, if someone who works out regularly at the gym suddenly has no interest, it would probably be wise to start checking for other depressive symptoms.
Loss of motivation goes hand-in-hand with clinical depression. To the untrained eye, a person with these symptoms may remind you of “bum-ass Tyrone,” your cousin, the black sheep of the family, who hasn’t had a stable job in three years. But to a trained professional, this sort of behavior is clearly an indicator of clinical depression.
Let me make clear, everyone who is lazy is NOT depressed. And, not every depressed person is lethargic; nor does everyone who is clinically depressed display exactly the same symptoms. The purpose of this article is to bring awareness to a set of behaviors that are highly associated with clinical depression but are often misinterpreted.
Most of the time when someone is depressed you can’t necessarily see that they’re depressed like you can with someone who has a broken arm or leg. For that reason, many people don’t even see depression as an illness. Usually, a clinically depressed individual doesn’t even know they’re depressed because there is nothing concrete or clearly visible about clinical depression.
Often, people think clinical depression is a funk that will soon be over. But overcoming clinical depression isn’t that simple. It’s best to see a trained mental health professional to get help with clinical depression as soon as possible.