Depression is an actual disease in the brain that requires clinical treatment

Depression facts

Depression facts

Laypeople often misuse the term to refer to occasional sadness, but that’s not depression. Depression is not even feeling sad all the time – it could just as well be a specific period in your life that is causing this change in wellbeing. Maybe your dog died or you got divorced. These things take time to get over, but feelings of sadness due to undesirable changes in our lives are very common and have nothing to do with depression. It is also quite common to experience symptoms of depression during the two-week period prior to the onslaught of PMS, but these symptoms usually die down once menstrual flow is underway.



Depression facts: A disorder

But a clinical depression, as doctors call it, is different, as it refers to an actual disease that requires treatment (typically medication or therapy) and encompasses physical symptoms such as insomnia, slow speech, lack of or total absence of concentration, appetite and/or libido. Furthermore, in its huge classification-list, ICD-10, World Health Organization has divided depression into depressive episodes (standalone incidents that do no repeat and do not require treatment) and recurrent depressive disorder (repeating depressive episodes that requires treatment). In both cases, the episodes can be mild, moderate or severe, depending upon the number and severity of the symptoms.


Depression facts: Do I have depression?

First of all, I have written a more thorough article, listing the signs of depression. But in a nutshell, it’s a sign of depression if you experience repeated episodes of agitated sadness along with the physical symptoms described above. However, depression is a subcategory under mood disorders which is again a subcategory under mental illnesses. And there are other forms of mood disorders that can be the cause of your sadness. One of them is called bipolar affective disorder which refers to intense mood swings, but whereas depression only refers to a decline in mood, bipolar affective disorder can cause your mood to go up as well as down.

So, if you’re able to feel joyful and jolly, even just for a brief moment, you do not have depression. People with depression don’t care about things that would normally excite them and make them cheerful.


What you can do

If you’re absolutely positive that you have some sort of depression, I’ve written another article on how to beat depression. For more advanced stuff, we have an e-book and several apps available for download.

Personal growth quotes

Personal growth quotes

People change. It’s a fact of life. But personal growth, as a psychological subject, is about taking control of that change and creating your own destiny. You can do this in many ways such as increasing self-awareness (understanding who you are, what you believe and how you differ from other people), build and expand upon currently perceived identity (go from believing one thing to another, for example, from being an agnostic to becoming an atheist or the other way around), development of strengths and talents (getting physically stronger is also part of personal growth, the same way that becoming better at socializing is), development of potentials (finding out that you’re actually good at baking, but didn’t know it), and much more.

Check out these people and their personal growth quotes to find out how they have achieved it:


Personal growth quotes: “We should not judge people by their peak of excellence; but by the distance they have traveled from the point where they started.”

The American writer, Henry Ward Beecher, is known for his abolitionism and one of his contemporaries, Frederick Douglass beautifully exemplifies Beecher’s quote: it is not impressive that Douglass wrote books and articles on abolition, but rather the journey that he went through in order to do that: from being a slave with no future to being a freed man, advocating equality and anti-slavery across America.


Personal growth quotes: “Do not wait to strike ’til the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking.”

Procrastination have become an embarrassing activity – people do it, but only reluctantly admit it. How did William Yeats become so famous? Not only because of his talent, but also because he didn’t beat around the bush. Yeats wrote and wrote and wrote, and eventually landed the Nobel Prize – because he didn’t wait to strike. Learning to not procrastinate is one of the biggest ways in which you can grow.


“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things that you had not.”

Throughout human history, we have taken things for granted. And once we learn not to do that, we find a change of mood and appreciation of life in us that we always knew was there, but just did not notice. The Ancient Greek philosopher, Epicurus,  experienced this firsthand and it is indeed a powerful way to nurture the development of our minds.


“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”

Learning to exercise on a daily basis is also part of personal development. Friedrich Nietzsche may not have been an olympic athlete, but he was a great thinker. Whether or not he conceived all his thoughts while walking, I don’t know, but he’s a good example that exercise is good for not only the body but also the mind.


“We have all the evidence we need in our immediate experience and only a deliberate refusal to ‘look’ is responsible for atheism.”

Many people throughout the world go through spiritual development in their lives. They may go from thinking there is a god to thinking there is none, or the other way around. Antony Flew was one of those who changed his mind several times, growing his spirituality along the way. As a boy, he was a believer, then concluded as a teenager that there was no god, advocating atheism throughout most of his life, then in the last part of his life began to advocate deism and on his deathbed proclaimed to be a theist and Christian. What we believe is part of who we are, and if we change this, it means we experience personal growth.

How to gain confidence

How to gain confidence

Confidence is different from self esteem. Confidence is “domain specific” which means it relates to a certain topic or area – I can have every confidence in my writing abilities, but have very little confidence in my ability to do public speaking. If you can relate to that, here are some tips on how to gain confidence in your abilities:


How to gain confidence: Preparation

If you prepare and practice enough at something, you’ll be better than people around you regardless of what it is. If you are going to have a major presentation in front of an audience, prepare what you are going to say in advance. A lot. Become so good at it that you know you’re the best. Then it will be more like you teaching something to other people instead of a presentation. The more you prepare and practice, the better your confidence will be.


How to gain confidence: Don’t be too hard on yourself

You will always be harder on yourself than anyone else. Very few people will care if you make mistakes and most people won’t even notice. Hell, if you make a presentation in a meeting at work or in front of classmates in school, odds are that some won’t even listen but rather think about what they’re going to have for dinner that night. And if they don’t care, neither should you. Also, stop thinking in terms of failure. There is no such thing as failure. There is only progress. As Michael Jordan once said, “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”


You’ve been through worse

Remind yourself that you have been through worse. Imagine climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. That monstrosity of almost 20,000 feet might seem very taunting. Now imagine a person who has already climbed Mount Everest, which is almost 30,000 feet and requires specific equipment like oxygen tanks, ropes and spike shoes. For that person, Kilimanjaro is like a walk in the park, right? Now imagine a person who is about to make a presentation to ten of his co-workers, but last week he spoke to the entire United Nations congregation. Suddenly this presentation is just peanuts, right? The point is this: if we keep challenging ourselves and remember our achievements in life, if we keep reminding ourselves that we have been through a lot worse, nothing will really seem difficult and daunting.


Other things you can try

For further reading on how to be confident in general, i.e. in everything you do, we have another article dealing with just that. We also have an app for iPhone and Android for just that purpose!

Am I depressed?

Am I depressed?

Have you often been down and thought to yourself “Am I depressed?”. You are not the only one. Although the symptoms for depression are all over the web and wide in number, misdiagnoses have occurred. People who think they have depression might not have it, but rather something else.


Am I depressed: Other disorder possibilities

One psychologist claimed that people who think they suffer from depression may really be suffering from an anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, or even addiction.[1] This is because the symptoms for depression overlap with symptoms for other illnesses. Symptoms such as weight loss, fatigue, and irritability are common in people with depression, but these symptoms are also indicative of diabetes. In fact, conditions such as delirium, dementia, thyroid disorders, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and post-traumatic stress disorder can be mistaken for depression because the symptoms are very similar.


Am I depressed: Other non-disorder possibilities

One of the core symptoms of depression is a constant feeling of a negative outlook on life, “i.e. having the blues”, but ongoing sadness can also have non-disease causes. For example, it is common for teenagers to go through a period, or even periods, of sadness and demotivation, but only around 4% are actually suffering from depression. Excessive grief can be another cause: it is not uncommon for people who live on their own with a dog to feel down for an extended period of time after the dog passes away. Some doctors may even shutter off symptoms of depression in the elderly as normal signs of aging, although what constitutes depression in the elderly is a highly disputed subject.


Take the test to find out

In case you’re wondering, you can take this short depression test, designed specifically for determining depression, that you can use to find out if you have depression or not. If you score a really high depression probability, I advise you to seek professional drug-free help here.


Self esteem quotes

Self esteem quotes

We have guide on how to build self-esteem, but if you’re looking for inspiration from other people, you’ve come to the right place! Scroll down and see how the following quotes about self-esteem, from people who definitely have it, will affect yours.


Self esteem quotes: “Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.”

Marilyn Monroe is no doubt a role model for a great number of women around the world, particularly in the West. Although her life was certainly not a bed of roses, she kept a strong spirit in a man-dominated world and in a life with no less than 3 divorces, alcohol abuse and domestic violence. And still, Monroe did not want to be someone else…


Self esteem quotes: “I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.”

In a time when slavery was common in America, Frederick Douglass was one of those who had had enough. Although a negro, Douglass saw qualities like value, wisdom, dignity and purpose in himself, that the white slavers around him never saw. Or in his fellow negroes. Being true to yourself and not letting other people control how you feel about yourself, is Douglass’s life lesson.


“You’re always with yourself, so you might as well enjoy the company.”

If you ever feel lonely, and most people do sometimes, just remember these words uttered by the fashion designer, and inventor of the wrap dress, Diane Von Fürstenberg. Remember that you’re never really alone as long as you have yourself – and you always do. Enjoy the company.


“Nothing is better for self-esteem than survival.”

In her book, Travels with Myself and Another: A Memoir, Martha Gellhorn recollects all of her adventures as a journalist. They took her around the globe and this quote concludes her experiences: nothing boosts self-esteem more than being on your own and depending entirely on yourself. Because then you realize that you don’t need other people to survive.


“A low self-image is usually not based upon facts; it’s mismanaged memory.”

Orrin Woodward, a chairman, motivational speaker, author and many other things, reminds us to always remember our successes. Even the little ones. If your kids love you and are happy, that means you’re a good mom/dad and a success at that. Remembering our successes and letting them affect how we view ourselves is much more difficult, and therefore more important, than remembering our failures and procrastinations.