My guess is not a lot. Generally people’s idea of depression- clinical depression- is limited to the misinformed stigma of society. What depression is not: it is not being sad because your boyfriend broke up with you, because you lost your job, or because you are having a bad hair day.
What depression is is almost impossible to explain to anyone who hasn’t been depressed, but if you feel like if you won the lottery, married the man of your dreams, were awarded the Nobel Prize, and cured cancer and still would finding yourself crying uncontrollably sitting in the corner of the bathroom… that is the beginning of how to explain the severe depth of sadness of depression. And sadness is only the tip of the iceberg- sadness turns into pain, which turns into hopelessness, which turns into nothingness. Like being a live, breathing corpse- just doing the functions of daily life on autopilot but devoid of any emotion or feeling. You are afraid of waking up and facing the day each morning and secretly hoping when you go to sleep that night that you may not open your eyes the next day.
There’s so much more I could say about depression, but first I want more women to stop suffering needlessly and recognize they may have a disease that needs medical treatment. That it is not going to go away on its own, or is not there because you are weak in character. It’s a disease (yes, I said disease) that poisons your mind and makes you feel like you poison the planet. It occurs at an almost double percentage rate in women as men. And if you are a depressed mother without treatment, the likelihood of your children developing depression increases dramatically.
There is no reason you have to suffer in silence! There is no shame to having a disease equatable to heart disease or diabetes. There is no shame in asking for help because a disease mind cannot fix itself. It would be like trying to climb a rope with one arm. It has nothing to do with weakness, nothing to do with trying harder, nothing to do with not appreciating your life.
I will answer any questions I possibly can. I am a 30 yr old who has had depression my entire life- I have no “before the depression” memories. It runs in my family and several family members are afflicted with depression and/or anxiety. I have been on more medications than I can count trying to find a combination that works for me. If my insurance covered ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) I would sign up for it in a second. Instead, I joined a research study which will perform brain surgery and implant a deep brain stimulation device (much like a pacemaker for the brain) into my head and chest later this year. Depression is serious but is very treatable (usually with much less effort than what I’ve been through, but this does demonstrate just how severe the depression can become).
Empty your mind of everything you think you know about depression and start from a blank slate so that you are not denying yourself the possibility of treatment based on society’s and your own negative, and incorrect stereotypes.