I started this blog on January 8, 2008, with a poem, called I have depression. If you've read it, you probably noticed the lines, I am not depressed. I have depression. Sound familiar? One of the problems with the perception and acceptance of depression as a biological, treatable illness, as well as the stigma surrounding this illness stems from the word itself. Depression. It is a common, everyday word with common, everyday usage and meaning. Or is it?
From Merriam-Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary:
depressed adj (1789): 1: low in spirits: SAD; specif: affected by psychological depression...
depression n (14c):...2: an act of depressing or state of being depressed: as a: a depressing down: LOWERING b (1) : a state of feeling sad: DEJECTION (2) : a psychoneurotic or psychotic disorder marked esp. by sadness, inactivity, difficulty in thinking and concentration, a significant increase or decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping, feelings of dejection and hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal tendencies c (1) : a reduction in activity, amount, quality or force (2) : a lowering of vitality or functional activity...
I have been speaking publicly about depression for at least 5 years. One of the main points of every single talk I give is this:
Despite making that point a thousand times, this is actually the first time I've looked it up! Phew! Webster's confirms it! Depression is a noun. It is a state of being. Depressed is an adjective. It describes the state of being. In other words, it is a feeling, and therein lies the problem.
And by the way, depression sucks.