What Is Depression?

“Your mind can be like a scary neighborhood – the kind of place you might not want to go into alone.”
~ Author Unknown





Depression is a general term used to describe a group of disorders commonly referred to as mood disorders, aptly named due to their primary feature–a disturbed mood.

If you are reading this article, you are most likely already familiar with the symptoms psychologists term as depression.  Some of these symptoms include, but are not limited to: feeling hopeless, feeling worthless, loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities, change in sleep habits, change in appetite, and thoughts of self-harm. Check out the “Depression: Self-Assessment” to see where you fit on the depression continuum.

Common Symptoms of Depression:  

– Feeling hopeless

– Feeling worthless

– Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities

– Change in sleep habits

– Change in appetite

– Thoughts of self harm


People have experienced depression for as long as they have inhabited earth.  This may sound like a bold statement given that we are not capable of studying the emotional and mental states of people from long ago.


Clinical depression involves feeling in your entire body.  Your thoughts, emotions and your energy level will all likely be impacted by depression.  

Contemporary psychology, however, has long determined that there is a definitive link between one’s thoughts and emotions–what we think has a direct correlation to what we feel.  For as long as men and women have possessed the ability to think, they have experienced resulting emotions.  When Adam and Eve thought  they were in trouble for partaking of the forbidden fruit, they felt afraid.

“Depression” is a relatively new term; older civilizations would not have used this terminology.  The Greeks commonly referred to it as “melancholy,” an expression that Charles Dickens also used in his book Oliver Twist to describe young Oliver’s mood as he begins working for the undertaker.

Another expression to describe depression was “in the doldrums,” a nautical term describing a windless state that renders a ship motionless.

Perhaps the most recognizable term for depression is “the blues.”  This expression is derived from the musical genre of the same name that was initially created in the deep South by African Americans who sung so woefully of their dire circumstances.

It is important, however, to distinguish clinical depression from “the blues.”  A sad mood comes and goes, whereas clinical depression usually hangs around for days or months at a time.

A full-fledged depression involves your whole body–your thoughts (“No one likes me”), your physical body (“I have no energy”), and your feelings (“I feel worthless”).


Sources of Depression

There are many different sources of depression.  For now, we will identify two basic sources.

  • First, depression results directly from your thoughts.
  • Second, depression results from the abnormal physical functioning of the human brain.
bridge and light

The suffering caused by depression can be unrelenting.  Learning the solutions offered through Empowered Life Solutions puts you on the road to increased joy in life.  

For more information on physiologically induced depression, be sure to look at the Empowered Life Solutions section about medical perspectives on depression.  This section will address the role that serotonin and endorphins play in depression.

In some cases, depression is a combination of both sources.  Because of this, medication combined with mental health therapy is the general prescribed treatment.

Empowered Life Solutions can help you on your path to healing.  We’ll teach you to identify the thinking patterns that support your depression.  When you recognize your thoughts and make active choices about which ones to accept, your feelings can change.

You can learn intervention strategies to significantly impact your mood.  In addition, consulting a physician for the medical side of depression can be very important.

Depression can take a significant toll on your body, not unlike chronic physical disorders like asthma, high blood pressure, or arthritis.  These are usually not life-threatening, but they may significantly reduce the overall quality of life.

The suffering caused by depression can be unrelenting.  Learning the solutions offered through Empowered Life Solutions puts you on the road to increased joy in life.



Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased,

Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow,

Raze out the written troubles of the brain,

And with some sweet oblivious antidote

Cleanse the stuff’d bosom of that perilous stuff

Which weighs upon the heart?

~ William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act 5, Scene 3





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Stuart Harper, LCSW, RPT-S; Lead Writer at Empowered Life Solutions

“Every life has a purpose our mission is to help you find yours.”


William Shakespeare. (1623). Shakespeare.mit.edu. Retrieved September 9, 2013 from shakespeare.mit.edu/macbeth/macbeth.4.3.html

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