MH – Is the word ‘depressed’ used too much?

I was sitting here wondering what to look up for today’s post and I really don’t want to just look something up and write something about it and give a link. Yes, we can all stand to learn more about specific disorders for mental health awareness month, but I’m feeling kinda blue this morning and decided that warranted a topic for discussion.

I used to listen to Dr. Laura religiously on the radio every day. I had never been a talk radio listener until I got sick of audio books one day and started fiddling with the dial. At first it was sports talk when baseball was on but one day I went up a channel and found a political talk show. I left it on and Dr. Laura came on after. I didn’t agree with a lot of her views, but when it came to how to do the right thing, how to be a good person, how to be a girlfriend, I really learned a lot from her.

One of the things that drives her nuts is when callers say they’re depressed because they lost their job, or they’re depressed because they snapped at their husband. Dr. Laura always asked if the callers couldn’t get out of bed, couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, etc. She would end up telling the caller there is a difference between being depressed and feeling blue. I really agree with this.

I definitely have my blue days. Sometimes it’s even more than feeling a little blue, days where everything annoys me, nothing brings me pleasure etc. Usually it comes down to something I’m not handling, or maybe it’s an anniversary that makes me sad. So those are sad days. But they go away and usually it’s only a day or two, sometimes a little more.

When I first went blind, that was depression. I didn’t want to get out of bed, rarely got dressed, let the house go, enjoyed nothing and cried all the time. As Carin points out though, and Amanda too, I still had days where I smiled and made jokes. But I was depressed then. It didn’t pass until I got help.

Days like today, because it’s Mother’s Day and I miss my mom, I’m sad. I’m blue. But I’m not depressed and I won’t say, “man I’m depressed today”.

When your dog knows a command, like when I tell Jayden to sit, it looses power if I say it repeatedly. I was taught to say sit and if he didn’t, to use leash action. Because saying the word too much takes the power out of it.

I really think that’s happening with depression in our society. Couldn’t it hold that since we all say we’re depressed at work the day after we fight with our boyfriend or we’re depressed because a tv show ended, that we’re taking power out of the word? So that people with depression maybe aren’t taken as seriously as they need to be?

I really watch it now, after hearing that from Dr. Laura, and since I’ve experienced depression. I’m having a sad day, I’m sad today, I’m feeling blue. But I’m not depressed.

If I get to the point where I’m not sleeping or I’m sleeping too much or I constantly snap at B, lose joy in everything, don’t want to leave the house, don’t care about others, am angry all the time etc, then I can say I’m depressed and if I say I’m depressed, I’d better get help.

Let’s not take the power out of the word.



Filed under awareness month, mental health, mom

7 Responses to MH – Is the word ‘depressed’ used too much?

  1. This is such a good post, Ro. Couldn’t agree more … there is such a difference – ask anyone whose experienced it, right. We do all have those feeling blue days – feeling sad, disappointed, discouraged, frustrated. Depression is so much bigger than that and needs to be acknowledged and supported.

    I am thinking of you today to as you miss your mom. It is a difficult day for those missing their moms and children. Love to you and Jayden.

  2. I think it’s definitely true that the word depression is overused. I might even go a step further and say that we can make ourselves feel worse by saying, “I’m depressed” too much. I like your wording of saying, “I’m having a bad day” or “I’m sad today”, because it acknowledges how you’re feeling, but also sends your own brain the message that this is temporary. It’s not who you are, but just how you happen to feel at this moment in time. It may be a subtle thing, but I think we all have tapes that play inside our heads–and we have to choose which tapes we’re going to allow.

  3. I am sorry to hear that you are feeling blue today. It’s horrible when you feel like that. That’s when i usually have a rant on a blank word document, then i can really go for it, and afterwards, i can delete it, because i don’t need it anymore. Maybe this is a weird way of dealing with anything that bothere=s me, but i find that it works.

    I deffinetly think that especially teenagers use the word depression too much. “I’m depressed today because my boyfriend split up with me” or something like that. I always listen to a really happy song just to make me happy. There is a song that a dude called Daniel Pouter sings called “You had a bad day” which is exactly what everyone has sometimes. Sometimes it does last for a bit longer, but usually you enjoy life as much as you can. Life would be boring without our blue days, and sometimes we wish they didn’t happen, but everyone gets them at some point.

    Take care, xxx

  4. I think it gets used too much as well and I like the example you gave with dogs and the sit cue. I also think that the word and definition of depressed are generally not well understood, same with most mental illnesses. So it is easy for people to say after a bad day at work “I’m depressed” when really that’s not a good fit for the true definition.

  5. That’s an awesome post. I always get so mad when people say “I’m so depressed.” when I know they don’t even know what depressed is. They had some crap happen to them and they’re down, but they’re not depressed.

    And funny you should mention “I had a bad day.” I always laugh when I think of that song. That song played after I missed my train, then had to take a cab to get the connection, and then in an attempt to give Babs some water, spilled it all over my lap. As I felt the drip drip, I heard the song come over the cab’s speakers. “Ya had a bad day…” You betcha.

  6. Agreed. It’s beginning to lose its meaning, just like the word “retarded” lost its literal meaning of “delayed” when it began to be used too often as an epithet.

    I’m careful to distinguish sadness from depression. I feel happy today. Truly. It doesn’t mean my depression is vanquished.

  7. You pretty well nailed it. Depressing things happen to you, but you yourself are not depressed. You’re a bit sad, a little down. Being depressed is totally different. I’ve never been it myself, but I’ve seen it, and I’d much rather have a bad day than be depressed.

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