The first definition of depression as defined by Merriam-Webster is “a state of feeling sad”. However, depression is much more than a state of feeling sad.

Depression is that feeling of constantly being overwhelmed. It’s stressing out over the smallest of things and feeling like maybe you shouldn’t be doing those things anymore. It’s seriously considering dropping out of college every day to reduce that feeling of being overwhelmed. It’s not participating in anything because you just can’t handle it all anymore.

Depression is the inability to sleep. The insomnia sets in and the thoughts that are always racing through your head keep you up at night. You think about the silliest things and think about all of the things that you could have differently. Maybe you create situations in your head and think of all of the different possible outcomes of that situation because if you think about these things enough, you might have some control over something in your life.

Depression is never feeling good enough. It’s feeling like you could be a better friend and like you don’t deserve the people who are in your life. It’s feeling like you’ve been a terrible girlfriend no matter how hard you try. It’s knowing that your grades could be better and wondering how you got as far you did in the first place. It’s knowing you could have been a better daughter and treated your parents better. It’s knowing that you still could be a better daughter. It’s feeling like you don’t deserve good things to happen to you because you’re not good enough and don’t work hard enough to receive those things. It’s not being able to live up to the standards that are expected of you and hating yourself because you know you’ll never be good enough.

Depression is feeling useless, unloved, and unwanted. It’s knowing that people care about you, but at the same time finding it hard to believe that you’re capable of being loved. It’s thinking that things would just be easier for everybody else if you didn’t exist.

Depression is more than just sadness. It’s so much more. The feelings of depression are the same feelings that you’d get when you lose someone close to you. Because that’s exactly what’s happened. You’ve lost yourself. You’ve disconnected from the world and given up on yourself. You’ve mentally destroyed yourself and in the process you’ve become someone else entirely. Someone that you don’t know and someone that you don’t approve of.

Depression is not being able to eat and faking that you’re happy every single day and no one noticing that there’s something wrong. That you’re not yourself. It’s caking on the concealer to cover the bags under your eyes and the pale color of your exhausted face and laughing a fake laugh and smiling a fake smile. It’s losing motivation to be happy. It’s losing the motivation to do anything.

Life sucks and I ask myself every day how it seems that life sucks more for some people than others. I posed this question to a friend not too long ago and the response that I received was something that I think everyone should think about. He told me that life is a test. “There’s a saying about God not giving people challenges that they can’t handle, but I think it’s the opposite. The only way to expand your soul and mind is through challenges that can make or break you. If we weren’t challenged every day, we wouldn’t strive as a species”.

What he said really made me think about all of the challenges that I’ve faced. People say that depression is a sign that you’ve been strong for too long. That’s bull. Depression is a chemical imbalance in your brain. It’s a mental disorder that causes your mood and emotions to fluctuate and it causes you to respond in a variety of ways. Having depression doesn’t mean that you’ve been strong for too long and that you just decided to quit. Depression is the continuation of being strong. Going off of what my friend told me, it’s a challenge that expands your soul and your mind and it’s a challenge that helps make you who you are. It sucks, but it’s a part of life. It’s a part of my life and it’s a part of many other people’s lives. But if I didn’t have depression, I wouldn’t have many challenges in my life to help me expand my soul and my mind. My mindset would be completely different. I know that depression sucks and while I’d rather not have, I’m ok with the fact that I do. It’s not something that I can force away so I might as well accept it into my life. Depression is a terrible disorder, but it’s also part of who I am.

Depression isn’t just something that I have. It’s encompassed in the brains of many people in the world. It’s loss, it's sadness, it’s hard. It’s accepting all of these things about depression though that can help you push through it and expand upon just who you are. Depression is a flaw in chemistry, not character.