The world is gray. Everything takes effort: getting out of bed, going to work or school, making a phone call. Here's how some people have described depression:

You try to fight it; after all, you have responsibilities. You try to do what you have to do, pretending that you don't feel as awful as you do. The only time you can let down a little is when you're alone.

Don't expect others to really "get it". They probably can't. Even well-meaning people will sometimes tell you to just get over it, snap out of it, do something fun.

Even you may not completely understand why you are so depressed. Your present-day life may not even be that problematic. Yet you know when you sink into that dark place that it can seem impossible to think that you might ever feel better. But even people who are experiencing deep despair and are feeling suicidal often come to realize that what they really want is for the pain to stop.

For most people, depression is a treatable illness. You can:

There is no one answer to the issue of depression. You and your therapist can work together to determine what's right for you.

"It is . . . the absence of hope. That very deadened feeling, which is so very different from feeling sad."

-- J.K. ROWLING

"Sufferers of depression, who can elect to keep their feelings private, experience chronic, unremitting emotional alienation. Each moment spent 'passing' as normal deepens the sense of disconnection generated by depression in the first instance."

-- DAVID KARP, Ph.D.