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Depression: Is it Mind over Matter?

Updated on July 2, 2015

Depression or Sadness?

I'm sure at one point or another during your life you have been overcome by sadness. Whatever the root cause of that sadness is; be it a death of a loved one, loss of a job, income, pet etc. sadness just plain sucks.

But are You Sad or Depressed?

I hope to shed some light on the differences between sadness and being classified as clinically depressed. Hopefully you find some comfort in knowing that you are not alone and that you can overcome this.


Sadness has a pretty easy definition, according to, sadness is explained as someone being affected by unhappiness or grief. For all intents and purposes sadness is an emotion and as time heals the wounds the person who is sad often is able to pull themselves through the "slump".

Sadness can also be replaced by joy, happiness, and the ability to see through the negative emotions and anticipate the positive emotions.

For example, empty nest syndrome could be categorized as a case of immense sadness.

A case where the sufferer is missing their loved one's who have moved on to the next stage in life (college, marriage, etc.).

However, the sufferer is usually able to see this as a positive effect and the sadness begins to fade over time as it is replaced with joy that your child or children have become adults.

What is Depression?

Depression is a sadness indeed, a sadness felt throughout your whole body. A complete sadness that takes over all other thoughts, feelings and/or emotions and allows no joy into your life.

Depression robs you of your motivation, spirit and a "light at the end of the tunnel".

Depression makes you feel helpless, hopeless, robs you of your self-esteem and just makes you feel plain tired.

Symptoms of Depression

The main symptoms of depression as classified by the DSM-IV are:

  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Impaired or lack of concentration
  • Insomnia (inability to sleep)
  • Hypersomnia (sleeping all day)
  • Irritability
  • Lack of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Unjustified aches or pains
  • Recurring thoughts of death or suicide
  • A sense of restlessness (racing thoughts, inability to sit still)
  • Significant changes in weight (loss or gain)

It is important to note that 3 or more of the above mentioned symptoms must be displayed over an extended period of time (usually 2 weeks of daily or semi-daily suffering is sufficient for diagnostic criteria) for an accurate diagnosis of depression to be made. However any of the above mentioned symptoms deserve care and attention in an attempt to "sort" things out.

Be Honest With Your Doctor

Before being diagnosed with clinical depression your treating physician should run tests in order to rule out any underlying factors such as drug abuse, hyperthyroidism, hyperthyroidism, etc.

Remember to mention if you have suffered any traumatic loss in the preceding months. A complete family history may also provide valuable clues in a correct diagnosis.

Some Argue that Depression is in One's Mind...

while this is semi-true it is not 100% true and can actually be quite discouraging to the person suffering from depression.

Depression is a brain disease, a disease where the brain lacks the proper chemicals to see through the sadness and move forward.

However with proper treatment these chemicals the depressed brain lack can be restored and the sufferer can begin to heal.

The Bucket Analogy on Depression and the Mind

Picture if you will 2 buckets, both buckets sit out in the rain and both buckets are replenished as the rain pours.

However one bucket has holes in it.

One bucket is unable to stay full simply because of it's holes.

Try as you might you are unable to repair the bucket with holes, while certain things may help the holey bucket it is never 100% restored to a full bucket.

"Normal Brain"
"Normal Brain"

In comparison, the bucket without the holes is that of a "normal" brain, a brain that is able to replenish the chemicals it losses with each bout of sadness.

This "bucket" lacks nothing.

However the bucket with holes continues to feel empty (for analogy purposes) and try as it might it is unable replenish itself.

The depressed brain is similar to a bucket with holes.

The depressed brain has all the capabilities of the "normal" brain but is unable to recover as easily as the "normal" brain.

The depressed brain needs help to heal it's "holes".

There is a Light at the End of the Tunnel

Regardless of how sad or depressed you are there is hope. There are many tools available to the persons suffering from depression. Tools that range from medication and therapy to a combination of both depending on one's personal journey with depression. Rest assured life will not always look as "gloomy" and things WILL get better. It's time to start "healing the holes"!

You can visit the NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health) website and find a good amount of information on how to find a Dr. or who to contact in case of an emergency. While your there "poke" around and see if you can't relate to the website in one way or another. If nothing else get a sense of community and lose the sense of being "alone" in a depressed brain. Well Wishes!

Copyright Notice

©Rebecca Fiskaali-Fordin 2012

All Text Rights Reserved


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    • Rfordin profile image

      Rfordin 5 years ago from Florida

      Hi Tiffany,

      Often times people who suffer from depression, TRUE depression, go back and forth between 'good and 'bad days, weeks, months, years even hours sometimes (although then you become more of a mood swinger' IE Bipolar or another sister type disorder).

      I'm glad the bucket's made sense to you. Sometimes when I try to explain the bucket analogy it doesn't always make sense to some but then again I wonder if they have ever actually been a suffer of depression.

      I'm glad your 'plugging your holes so to speak, plugging the holes must be done before you can finish the 'patch work. Once those holes (whatever they may be from) are plugged and patched they should no longer be a worry. However if your susceptible to depression like many, many people are it's a never ending road of new holes. Arm yourself with knowledge and you'll be alright!

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!


    • tiffany delite profile image

      tiffany delite 5 years ago from united states

      this is a great article. i like how you use the analogy of buckets with and without holes to describe people with and without depression. my bucket has holes. over the years the holes seem to have gotten bigger and bigger. oh, i plug them for awhile, but inevitably, before to long, the plugs spring a leak and the holes seems even bigger. i'm in the process of plugging more holes right now. thank you for your article! blessings!

    • profile image

      TWO-SIDES2-A-COIN 5 years ago

      I thought your story here was very nice as it was full of helpful ideas. Right now depression is more serious than ever, as is are economy. Both are linked because it is in a horrible state, and our political structure is in deadlock. There is much negativity going around, and that in itself brings depression.

    • joer4x4 profile image

      joer4x4 5 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

      Interesting article.

      I would submit that if you believe you are a physical being first then depression originates in the brain due to chemical balance regardless of what one thinks. It is a disease.

      If you believe you are a spiritual being first then your physical being is subservient to your spiritual being. Part of your spiritual self (which is abstract as opposed to physical) is your thought process (also abstract) which your physical being is also subservient to. Therefore thought would have to predetermine physical existence. In that case it would have to be in the mind with the brain exhibiting the symptoms.

      The point is in order to treat depression properly a decision has to be made whether it is a physical or mental problem then proceed with appropriate plan based on purely physical or mental therapy.

      Depression is a horrible state locks expression within the self. And even though we can not change anyone, I think we have a way to go in learning the proper mythology to help those change themselves.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      You are so right about what you say. Depression is an illness of the brain that people can't just shake off. It's not a weakness either as some people think. I love your bucket analogy. Great hub! Voted up and others!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Depression is an illness that is hard to deal with as a support person. You want to see the person suffering with this return to a happy lifestyle. Thanks for explaining what it is and how there is hope in treatment. Voted up.

    • Rfordin profile image

      Rfordin 5 years ago from Florida

      I agree with you about the "right" medication completely. I also know of a few local dr.'s who are guilty of perscribing certain meds due to "hype" or kickbacks and it's sickening to say the least.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing with us!!



    • profile image

      Larry Wall 5 years ago

      Your explanation of depression is excellent. Those that suffer from it, know exactly what you are talking about. Those that do not suffer from it, think all they have to do is take you to a funny movie, buy you a burger and say snap out of it.

      Depression is not uncommon in my family. I do not know if there is any proven genetic link. I suspect there is. The right medication and careful monitoring can do wonders, but it has to be the right medication and not the most popular medication advertised on television last week.

      Very interest and useful. Vote up.

    • Rfordin profile image

      Rfordin 5 years ago from Florida

      Thanks Xanzacow!

    • xanzacow profile image

      Cynthia 5 years ago from North Myrtle Beach, SC

      I too like the bucket analogy. Welcome to Hubpages!

    • Rfordin profile image

      Rfordin 5 years ago from Florida

      Hey Rasta1,

      I'm glad you were able to understand it.... I was a little concerened about people being able to visualize "the bucket scenario". I was worried it would make no sense what-so-ever!

      Thanks for putting my fears to rest and stopping by!!!


    • rasta1 profile image

      Marvin Parke 5 years ago from Jamaica

      The bucket is an interesting analogy. I like how you explain depression.