Identifying and Treating Major Depression

By Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D.

I feel like I’m floating under an endless gray sky in an endless gray sea of tepid water. There is no horizon. There is nothing to break the monotony. I feel nothing. I see nothing. I hear nothing. I can’t bring myself to move. My world is nothing.
– 21-year-old woman suffering from major depression

No one can understand this—this sense of aloneness and pointlessness. I know I should care about my family, my job, and my friends. But it’s like I’m under layers on layers of padding. They can’t get to me. I don’t have whatever it is to want to reach for them.
– 42-year-old man suffering from major depression

Why is life such a struggle? It just feels too hard to keep on living. I don’t really want to die. I want this pain to end. Nothing is worth this pain.
– 35-year-old woman suffering from major depression

“Depression” is a term loosely tossed about in American culture. When people say, “I’m depressed,” they usually mean that they are merely garden-variety sad or down about something. They know (and you know) that in a few minutes, hours, or after a good night’s sleep, they will feel better and be their usual selves.

Not so with major depression. A major depressive episode is not fleeting or insignificant. Major depression isn’t about being “down in the dumps,” “blue,” or in a “bad mood.” Sufferers can’t just “snap out of it” or distract themselves into a better mood. Rather, major depression dominates a person’s life for anywhere from two weeks to many years.

It’s not unusual for a person with major depression to question whether life itself is worth living. Fifteen percent of those who suffer from depression die from suicide. If you or someone you love is severely depressed, it’s important that it be taken very seriously.

AT THIS MOMENT, AS YOU READ THIS TEXT, IF YOU ARE SERIOUSLY CONSIDERING SUICIDE, PLEASE LOG OFF YOUR COMPUTER AND TELEPHONE THE POLICE OR EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES.

 

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, M. (2006). Identifying and Treating Major Depression. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 18, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/identifying-and-treating-major-depression/000328
Scientifically Reviewed
    Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Jan 2013
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