Essay on DepressionUpdated: May 10, 2016
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Tell someone you have episodes of “Depression” and they’ll probably get awfully quiet awfully fast. The term has different connotations to different people. To some, it’s a mental illness or mood disorder seen as a medical condition. Others may see it as weakness resulting from a person’s mental instability.
In any case, Depression is described as severe despondency and dejection, and it’s typically experienced over a period of time and accompanied by feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy. Its medical definition describes Depression as a mental disturbance characterized by a state of melancholy to a greater degree than seems necessary or warranted by the external circumstances, typically with lack of energy and difficulty in maintaining concentration or interest in life; this is often called “Clinical Depression.”
Millions of people all over the world struggle with some kind of Depression or another, whether it’s Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), Bipolar Disorder, or just general Depression. But some countries are more understanding and accepting Depression than others.
Depression affects just about every aspect of a person’s living experience, from their personal life to their career life. It can make getting up in the morning and out of bed a seemingly insurmountable challenge. Depression affects one’s bodily functions, often making them feel weak, lethargic and agitated. It can cause a definite disruption in a person’s life, making it hard for them to function like a normal, happy productive human being.
Some may see Depression as a curse – especially if it never ceases to exist and casts a dark cloud over one’s life. But it can, for some individuals, be considered a gift. It’s hard to explain it to someone who has never experienced the dark depths of Depression, but it can be best understood as something that happens for a reason.
Besides Bipolar Depression and a constant state of intense melancholy, Depression can occur to people who are not happy with their lives, who are not happy with the person they have become, and people dealing with Depression may have it because they know they are living an unfilled existence.
But Depression can be a motivating factor, as well. Imagine a person who lives a mediocre existence and feels generally happy and content with their life and how they feel on a daily basis. They know they are not meant for anything great in life, nor do they expect much out of themselves. They are simply living – and they’re fine with that. Since they feel content on a daily basis, they never aspire to do more, become more, to become their optimal self. They are fine with who they are and how they live, and they feel mostly good on a daily basis, but not great.
Now imagine the person with deep Depression, a person who knows what utter happiness, or bliss, is like. But their Depression removes them from this beautiful state of happiness – and they yearn to return to this state. Only Depression makes that no easy walk in the park. It is a hurdle. Maybe something in their daily life is not quite right, and perhaps they are far from reaching their potential and fulfilling their destiny in life.
And just maybe, maybe, this feeling of despondency, of gloom, of dejection, can urge them to get out of this Depression and seek out a better life where they reach their potential and become the person they are meant to be, the person they were supposed to become.
It is a bit like the heroes that writer Joseph Campbell wrote about in many of his best-selling books. He notes that the myths of antiquity usually revolve around a protagonist who lives a quiet and unfulfilled life. Something happens and they get the call to leave for an adventure with a specific goal or quest in where they endure some sort of ordeal, then find triumph and knowledge that they then can bring back home with them. And maybe this sort of experience, the evolution of a hero, can stem from their initial Depression – which may have prompted this character evolution in the first place.
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