Am I Depressed


Am I Depressed - A few thoughts

This question comes to mind whenever a victim of Depression recognizes that they have a problem. Usually, the mind glosses over such thoughts during one’s daily routines for sustenance and comfort. Indeed, it is the rare mind that tends to ask itself, “Am I depressed?”

Depression is a psychological disorder that dates back centuries ago but was better understood only in recent memory. Evidence shows that Hippocrates knew of this state of being and described it as melancholy and “a disorder of the humors” which meant quite literally an imbalance in your ability to laugh. Hippocrates’ melancholia literally translated to black bile and Aristotle later wondered why so many heroes and artists were afflicted with too much melancholia. These philosophers were the equivalent of medical professionals back then; respected and powerful. But to them the question was not “am I depressed” but “how do we control the black bile?”

This historical thoughts made way for doctors to delve deeper into this issue and they have much later analyzed, diagnosed and concluded that Depression truly is an imbalance of certain neurotransmitters in the brain that help nerve cells communicate; dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine among many others. These neurotransmitters are influenced by physical illnesses, hormonal changes, medications, genetics, age, physical brain injuries, daily intake, seasonal or light cycle changes, physical activity or inactivity and prevalently social circumstances.

In short, Depression is affected by anything and everything we do; it is a logically emotional reaction to life and our experiences in it. For example: when a man practices or receives a demeaning act then he later feels depressed.

In this day and age we no longer need to ask “Am I depressed?” but instead - “Why am I depressed?” Man is rather spoilt for reasons to be feeling down. The headlines scream the bad news from around the globe because that is what sells. Advertisements surround modern humanity with the escapism of pop culture. This too self-propagates because reality does nothing to lift the spirits.

The study of Depression ramped up in the 1900’s where Freud tackled it still referring to the state as “melancholia”. Even Behaviorists studied it and figured out it was not just a mental disorder but a behavioral one as well.

In the first decade of the 21st century, modern medicine in America released new editions of Depression. Many doctors expressed how new forms were still being discovered as classification criteria for depressive disorders were changing. More is being understood daily on a possible genetic component to depression. To date, man is at least able to categorize his depression so when he asks himself “Am I depressed?” it is easier to find an answer, sometimes in pill form. It is big business in the modern world to treat a common disorder with medication. Perhaps this too adds to the reasons for man’s melancholy.

It is then a pity it took mankind so long to answer the question “Am I depressed?” only to figure out that melancholy is just a state a person is in until they find a reason to laugh.