Depression is not feeling down for an hour out of your day. It’s not something to be glorified. It’s not beautiful. Depression is being on the brink of tears because you dropped your glass of water. It’s not having the urge to clean up the mess, rather you fall on the floor and cry. It’s feeling safety in not brushing your hair for weeks at a time.

Depression is a mood disorder characterized by low mood for most of the day, nearly everyday, and a marked diminished interest or pleasure in daily life. Some warning signs of depression include a lack of joy – specifically for many activities, people, places and events you used to enjoy no longer have the “wow” factor. The excitement just isn’t there. You may feel that there is a dark cloud, or a general grey cloud over your head. Tasks that previously seemed effortless now take a lot of energy – such as getting up and dressed for work, beginning your evening of studying, or cooking dinner for the kids. With depression, you can feel some physical symptoms as well – such as overwhelming fatigue, restlessness, or just “slowed down.”

Depression can affect people differently, and depression often doesn’t fit the mental model many of us have – you may be even questioning if you have depression in the first place. Depression CAN look like nonstop tearfulness and days spent in bed. But it can also be going to work everyday and having no one think or notice that you are not okay. Depression CAN look like unwashed hair and dirty clothes, but it can also be a fresh face and a cute work outfit.

Depression can have an impact on people in different ways. Depression can show up with pervasive feelings of “not good enough” – struggling to keep it together, both at work and at home.You may feel like you just don’t have the mental energy anymore – and this can show up in a lack of motivation and disillusionment with life in general.

Regardless of how depression appears to the outside world, it is the feeling of being off, feeling low, and feeling unlike yourself. Reach out for help and support – it is here for you when you need it.

And remember: You are worth it.

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