Depression is a very serious condition that affects one in every five people at some stage of their lives. We all can become sad at times and feel really down after losing a loved one, ending a relationship or losing a job for example. Depression is more than just a sad feeling though. Clinical depression is a deep dark state that persists for an extended period and effects the way a person lives, sometimes to the point where they are completely incapacitated. Things like concentration and memory are affected and little pleasure is found in anything. People sometimes eat more than usual or eat less, and often sleep too much to escape their suffering or stay up all night because they can hardly sleep at all. People suffering from depression can feel overwhelmed, worthless and hopeless. They find it hard to believe that there is way out and will often think that suicide is an attractive option. Depression is often about looking backwards, struggling with the memories and intense feelings of the past and feeling hopeless about the future.

People suffering from depression will sometimes hide from the world and not answer the phone because they don't want to speak with anyone and they often don't want anyone to see them in the state they are in. Problem is that depressed people are sometimes difficult to be around so friends and family will sometimes ignore them or tell them to "just get over it". This just adds isolation and guilt to the mix and makes matters worse. Understanding and patience are what is needed. People suffering with mental illness know where they want to be, they just need help understanding where they are stuck and assistance to get out.

Depression is also associated with drug and alcohol use because people will sometimes use substances to help cope with strong unpleasant feelings but this often makes matters worse as substance abuse will often add to depression symptoms. The vicious cycle of depression and substances use is destructive and can see people caught up for a very long time while everything around them (e.g., work, relationships) gets worse. Things getting worse can add to the depression and people can sometimes become frustrated and angry because nothing seems to be going right for them.

The way forward is to learn how to live with and manage depression so that life doesn't come to a complete stop. There are medications that can help and use of these should be discussed with a Doctor. Speaking with a Psychologist and learning better ways of dealing with the symptoms of depression can be a way of developing skills that last a life time. Depression can be treated but treatment takes time, and requires patience, persistence and hard work.