Sat, Jan 08, 2005 - Page 9 News List

Being flippant about depression is no small thing

The word `depressed' describes a debilitating illness. Its casual use -- and misuse -- adds to the confusion over what it really is

By Nick Johnstone  /  THE GUARDIAN , LONDON

Next, the lethargy sets in. My exercise regimen starts falling away and I turn down all social invitations. This is when my wife calls "fire!" and sends me to the doctor. I'm reluctant to go because no matter how many times it happens, I always think it'll eventually pass if I keep my head down long enough. Sometimes it fools both of us and I wind up suicidal. Then I need to get help immediately.

The short answer to the

question "How do I know if I'm depressed?" is you just know. You don't feel like yourself anymore.

The seams of your life come unravelling deviously. Your IQ turns to candyfloss. To those who love you, you're unrecognizable, a stranger.

You're like a ventriloquist's puppet, depression's plaything. It's not a very nice feeling. So if you've never experienced it, think twice next time you find the term "depressed" on the tip of your tongue -- you may just be offending the person you're talking to.

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