Depression and sadness are not the same thing.
Depression, has been described by many who suffer from the illness, as the inability to feel anything. Just try to imagine over time, that you no longer have the ability to feel joy. That simple enjoyment you’d get from being with those you care about and who care about you, or from watching a movie, or doing things that are just 'normal and functional'. It would be as if you do things that normally make you happy, but the part of the brain that is responsible for producing happiness just isn’t working properly anymore.
We all experience sadness, it can last a day or two, and sometimes when sad things happen like the loss of a loved one, it can last a lot longer, but it changes and how we cope with it changes, eventually we are able to move on.
Depression is an illness, it can affect sleep, some become restless, concentration is affected, some can’t eat, while others comfort eat, and on bad days are unable to even get out of bed, the loss of enjoyment and pleasure also mean it can impact on relationships, lethargy and the inability to remember or process information and think clearly, can make responding to questions seem too difficult, resulting in giving up. All of which can culminate in a sense of worthlessness and overwhelming guilt and a sense of hopelessness.
Supporting people with depression is hard, it isn’t easy, it is challenging and draining for those who care, but to stand by their side and support them, while taking care of your own mental health can be one of the most meaningful significant things you will do, and one of the hardest. Sometimes it is the carer that needs the support, especially when the person with depression is not ready to seek help. There will be good days, good times, make them count. People with depression cannot help it, they suffer as someone in pain suffers, it is just a different type of pain they suffer, and for many they present to the world with a face that doesn't show any of their pain. Only when they return to their own privacy can they shut themselves away and retreat into their own isolation.
The saddest part of depression is that it somehow tricks you into not wanting to seek help, it is as if this bleak way of seeing the world is somehow more real and authentic than people around you who are enjoying themselves, those who are constantly seeking out mindless activities, trying to distract themselves from how pointless life is. So you just stare it in the face, day after day, until days weeks & years have gone by, and you’ve accomplished absolutely nothing, while everyone else is out enjoying life.
Medication, to reduce the associated anxiety, or replace or inhibit the chemical imbalance, and some of the talking therapies like CBT and Mindfulness have been shown to help, and many have found that the combination of these with self hypnosis is also beneficial to help manage this illness and reduce the associated anxiety
Getting help and advice from your GP is the first step, then seeking support from professionals who can help with pattern breaking or manage the day to day of this debilitating condition. For some it is about accepting the past and learning how to move on, but for many it is about accepting that they have depression and learning how to manage it, for there will be good days and there will be bad ones too, but nothing lasts forever.
Nothing stays the same, and everything changes over time, even how you feel, if you let it.