Manic depression is a type of depression, technically, and it's the opposite of uni-polar. Manic depression is also called bi-polar disorder. Some people don't like to call it that because they think it makes it sound too nice, when the reality is if you have manic-depression you have manic-depression.
Depression must be avoided, no matter what the cost. Depression is lying on the Edwardian couch for six months, too tired to unlace your shoes. Depression is awakening each morning feeling as if someone near and dear and closely related died the night before. Bad news. Don't tempt depression.
There are many misconceptions about depression-mostly negative. Unfortunately, because depressed people think negatively about depression and its treatment, they don't get help, which allows the depression to worsen, which leads to more negative thinking, which produces a vicious cycle of suffering.
Anyone who has actually been that sad can tell you that there's nothing beautiful or literary or mysterious about depression. Depression is like a heaviness that you can't ever escape. It crushes down on you, making even the smallest things like tying your shoes or chewing on toast seem like a twenty-mile hike uphill. Depression is a part of you; it's in your bones and your blood.
As it stands, the diagnostic criteria for depression are so loose that two people with absolutely no symptoms in common can both end up with the same unitary diagnosis of depression. For this reason especially, the concept of depression as a mental disorder has been charged with being little more than a socially constructed dustbin for all manner of human suffering.
Depression is a serious problem, but drugs are not the answer. In the long run, psychotherapy is both cheaper and more effective, even for very serious levels of depression. Physical exercise and self-help books based on CBT can also be useful, either alone or in combination with therapy. Reducing social and economic inequality would also reduce the incidence of depression.
Depression is not caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, and it is not cured by medication. Depression may not even be an illness at all. Often, it can be a normal reaction to abnormal situations. Poverty, unemployment, and the loss of loved ones can make people depressed, and these social and situational causes of depression cannot be changed by drugs.
This story ["The Depressed Person"] was the most painful thing I ever wrote. It's about narcissism, which is a part of depression. The character has traits of myself. I really lost friends while writing on that story, I became ugly and unhappy and just yelled at people. The cruel thing with depression is that it's such a self-centered illness - Dostoevsky shows that pretty good in his "Notes from Underground". The depression is painful, you're sapped/consumed by yourself; the worse the depression, the more you just think about yourself and the stranger and repellent you appear to others.
David Foster Wallace
In the large sense the primary cause of the Great Depression was the war of 1914-1918. Without the war there would have been no depression of such dimensions. There might have been a normal cyclical recession; but, with the usual timing, even that readjustment probably would not have taken place at that particular period, nor would it have been a "Great Depression.
When you feel depressed, it helps to actively change your environment. Go and do something different. Martin Luther conquered his depression by going outside to work in his garden. Surprisingly enough, one of the best ways to handle depression is to go to work immediately on the task you least enjoy. (The chances are your depression is caused by guilt feelings arising out of neglect of those tasks.)
R. C. Sproul
I know the difference between sadness and depression. Clinical depression has no source from which it springs-it just is. Intractable sadness has nothing to do with synapses, or brain chemistry, or essential salts, it's born of something. It's the product of injustice and helplessness. It can be anesthetized, I suppose, but it's there, unaltered, when the medication wears off, like an intruder who has broken into your house and is still there every morning when you wake up. Given the choice, I would rather be depressed. I've come back from depression.
If you tell someone you have depression, they will often say, "Oh, I've been depressed before, too." The difference lies between being depressed and having depression. Everyone's been depressed at one time or another, but these are far from being the same things. One is a passing mood. The other is a chronic illness that does not come and go, ebb and flow, is here one day and gone the next. The difference between being depressed and having depression is that one is a mood and the other is an illness. One is a momentary bout of melancholy. The other is a debilitating condition that requires medical treatment. Would you feel better about having a cancerous lesion if I likened it to the rash I had last week? The difference between being depressed and having depression is the difference between a mood that will soon pass, and a serious illness that disrupts your ability to function and will take years to treat. The difference between being depressed and having depression is the difference between Cleveland and Bangkok, or your frying pan and the surface of the sun. So, no, we (depressives) do not feel better when you tell us about your rash. We'll do our best to be polite about it, but no, it really doesn't help at all.
Silence is one of worst, most vocal enemies, yet people go through many bouts of depression not sharing what is happening. People don't understand that, but as someone who suffers from it, I can tell you that it's difficult to be objective about the gray. I described depression to my therapist as a misty fog that surrounds me, heavy on my shoulders, pervading everything and nothing at all. I liken depression to a bird stealing into the depths of your soul, pecking at your disposition until nothing is left. And that is when you break into pieces.
The terrible truth about depression, and the part of its nature that terrifies me the most, is that it appears to operate beyond reason; feelings happen to you for no apparent cause. Or rather, there is usually an initial cause, a 'trigger'as they say in therapeutic circles, but in severe depression the feelings of sadness, grief, loneliness and despair continue long after the situation has resolved itself. It is as if depression has a life of its own, which is perhaps why so many sufferers refer to it as a living thing, as some sort of demon or beast.
I decide to scope out craigslist to see all the vibrant economic employment opportunities available to me in this depression. Oh, I'm sorry, I mean 'recession.' No matter how many millions of jobs are lost, how much debt our country accrues, or how many years the stagnation drags on, it's not a depression until the dogmatic media officially declares it to be a depression. It's as if they believe by repeatedly printing or saying economists are afraid the economy will slip back into a recession, they'll fool the masses of unemployed or underemployed into believing that not only are we not in a depression, but we aren't even in a recession. I'm sure the millions of unemployed, freshly graduated college kids who have thousands of dollars of unshakable debt to pay off feel comforted by the empty repetition.
The point about manic depression or bipolar disorder, as it's now more commonly called, is that it's about mood swings. So, you have an elevated mood. When people think of manic depression, they only hear the word depression. They think one's a depressive. The point is, one's a manic-depressive.