Every person who has ever experienced depression will have his or her take on what it’s like. There is no face of mental illness. No face of depression or anxiety. No face of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. No specific look or standard that one can point out in a crowd of people. These illnesses come in every color and every shape, at different times and through all ages.

What Is Depression?

Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think, and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease your ability to function at work and home.

Depression was once thought of as a "woman's disease" and linked to hormones and premenstrual syndrome. This stereotypical view still lingers and maybe what keeps men with depression from recognizing it and seeking appropriate treatment. Women are nearly twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with depression. Depression can occur at any age.

It may not be that a greater number of women are depressed, but rather, that a woman is more likely to receive a diagnosis. Research has indicated that women who are depressed are more likely to show “typical” (or recognizable) emotional symptoms, such as crying. Women also tend to show more symptoms of depression than men.

The symptoms of clinical depression in men are similar to the symptoms of depression in women. But men tend to express the symptoms differently. They like to think o themselves as strong and in control of their emotions. Where they feel hopeless or overwhelmed by despair they often feel deny it or try to cover it up. But depression is a common problem that affects many men at some point in their lives, it's not a sign of emotional weakness or a failing of masculinity.

Depression is fundamentally a uniquely personal experience that is often lonely and bleak. It rarely makes sense. Every choice you make seems like the worst choice ever and withdrawing from the world seems like the best option. These are exactly the reasons why getting support is important. 

Depression is different for everyone. It is largely related to the way that we view the world and our experiences with it. So, the experience of depression is as unique and individual as the person experiencing it.

Stop the judgment.
Stop the stigma.