Depression refers to a set of symptoms that are believed to be the result of depleted (aka lowered, or “depressed,” as in the proximal meaning of the word) brain chemistry. While this is for sure an oversimplification, it does provide a loose framework for understanding what is going on. We use symptoms to diagnosis depression because it is easier than drilling a hole in the head to biopsy the brain.
The symptoms include one or more of the following:
- Depressed mood
- Anhedonia (diminished loss of interest or pleasure in almost all activities)
- Significant weight or appetite disturbance
- Sleep disturbance
- Psychomotor agitation or retardation (a speeding or slowing of muscle movement)
- Loss of energy or fatigue
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Diminished ability to think, concentrate, and make decisions
- Recurrent thoughts of death, dying or suicide
- Longstanding interpersonal rejection ideation (i.e. thoughts like “Others would be better off without me,” etc.); specific suicide plan; suicide attempt)
Depression feels overwhelming. Things that shouldn’t be overwhelming, are. It’s like trying to flip a pancake…with a cinder block tied to your arm. Flipping a pancake should be a simple and easy thing to do. Tie a concrete brick to your arm, however, and the task becomes incredibly difficult, if not impossible.
You feel tired, mentally in a fog, unmotivated, overwhelmed, unworthy, and hopeless. When depression gets severe enough, you just want to crawl under the blankets and wait for Jesus to return. Or go to be with Him by some other means. It’s not that you necessarily want to die, you just don’t want to keep feeling the way you do, and you don’t see a way out.