The World Health Organization ranks depression as the fourth leading cause of disability worldwide and projects that by 2020, it will be the second leading cause, according to Evelyn Bromet in research
published in BioMed Central that analyzed data from 89,000 people in 18 countries.
Depression can be understood in many ways, but generally it is a severe muting of the colors and nuance of life. It leaves the world feeling grey and cold and diminishes to the point of vanishing hope for a different tomorrow. It can have a relentless and bullying quality to it and in its more pronounced forms can feel as though it is declaring “this is your life and it is worthless and you are also worthless.”
Depression can lead to feeling overwhelmed and despairing, making it difficult or impossible to manage common responsibilities like work, school, relationships and maintaining good health. Depression can make it feel impossible to take any satisfaction in those common pursuits and tasks.
It’s when we are overwhelmed by feelings of sadness, emptiness or irritability for more than a couple of weeks – and those feelings interfere with functioning – that it’s important to reach out to a trusted friend or family member or psychotherapist. Acknowledging potential depression sooner rather than later is desirable and helpful.
It is important to understand that depression can afflict anyone and is not a sign of weakness or poor character. It is evident in all cultures and nations. Globally, more than 300 million people suffer from depression, according to a 2017 report
from the World Health Organization. Left untreated, it can cause great harm and unrelenting pain and isolation.