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According to the Mayo Clinic, “Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems.”

Miriam-Webster says it is “a psychoneurotic or psychotic disorder marked especially by sadness, inactivity, difficulty in thinking and concentration, a significant increase or decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping, feelings of dejection and hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal tendencies.”

These definitions, while official-sounding, fall far too short of explaining what, exactly, depression is. Or more importantly, what it does to us.

Depression isn’t just a feeling of sadness some people have sometimes. It’s a monster that you are constantly at battle with.

Happiness and depression are not mutually exclusive. Likewise, a person doesn’t need to actively be sad to be depressed.

Sometimes depression sneaks up on you, slowly wrapping around you like a security blanket, until suddenly it smothers you and can’t be shaken off.

Sometimes you hear, “just cheer up,” or worse, “just get over it.” If it was that easy, don’t they think you’d have done so.

The fight to deal with depression, to defeat or even subdue it, is never-ending. There are weapons we can use, and armor we can don. Support systems, coping mechanisms, meditation, relaxation, friends, family, medications, these work to varying degrees for some people, but some with adverse effects of their own.

You soldier on. You fight. You struggle. You fight and fight and fight. For your life, you fight.

And then it’s quiet.

You pause and raise your eyes. Finally you’ve done it. You’ve won. You’ve slain the beast and earned a moment of peace. A chance to rest. To breathe.

…. all to start the battle over, again and again.

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