Do you feel sad, empty, and hopeless most of the day, nearly every day? Have you lost interest or pleasure in your hobbies or being with friends and family? Are you having trouble sleeping, eating, and functioning? If you have felt this way for at least 2 weeks, you may have depression, a serious but treatable mood disorder.

Depression is different from usual mood fluctuations and short-lived emotional responses to challenges in everyday life. Especially when long-lasting and with moderate or severe intensity, depression may become a serious health condition. It can cause the affected person to suffer greatly and function poorly at work, at school and in the family. 

Even though it is one of the most well-recognized disorders, it is still widely stigmatized. The national mental health survey estimated that 1 in 20 Indians have depression—despite this, over 85% of the total number of people living with it don’t have access to treatment. A person can be diagnosed with depression at any point in their life. Treatment for it usually involves medication; psychotherapy; or a combination of the two. And there are myths about depression.

What are the different types of depression?

Two of the most common forms of depression are:

  • Major depression—having symptoms of depression most of the day, nearly every day for at least 2 weeks that interfere with your ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy life. An episode can occur only once in a person’s lifetime, but more often, a person has several episodes.

  • Persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia)having symptoms of depression that last for at least 2 years. A person diagnosed with this form of depression may have episodes of major depression along with periods of less severe symptoms.

What are the signs and symptoms of depression?


Sadness is only one small part of depression and some people with depression may not feel sadness at all. Different people have different symptoms. Some symptoms of depression include:

    • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
    • Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
    • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
    • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies or activities
    • Decreased energy, fatigue, or being “slowed down”
    • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
    • Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
    • Thoughts of death or suicide or suicide attempts
    • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment
My approach to Depression

The mindful and acceptance perspective on depression views it as a human experience in reaction to travails of life, we all face sometime or other. Anything can cause it. A nagging issue which defies solution or closure at that moment. A loss of object, relationship or opportunity can also engender a depressive episode. A physical illness like Diabetes or Hypothyroidism can case a low mood. Or it can defy a valid reason to be there, coming out of the blue! 

We have a natural tendency to struggle with the experience of sadness and try to distract ourselves by focusing on our work or day-to-day responsibilities. This works for some time and we are relieved for a short time. Then the darkness revisits stealthily. We again try to shoo away the feeling desperately. 
What if our efforts to avoid and control the experience of sadness is contributing much of our suffering, rather than the actual painful experience itself?


Imagine that we are fighting a tug-of-war game with a monster. The monster is powerful and unbeatable. There is a huge chasm between the two of you. Whoever loses will fall into the deep hole. What will you do? How long will you hold up against this powerful adversary? You can put up a terrible fight, yet lose the game. Is there anything you can do to avoid the inevitable?  Pause for a moment and think for yourself.   

How about dropping the rope? Counter-intuitive insight ! An impressive body of research has gathered around this central tenet of accepting your difficult experiences and distancing yourself from the disturbing thoughts, emotions and sensations .

Learn more about Depression - Myths about depression