On twitter the other day, I saw somebody jump down another person’s throat for tweeting that they felt depressed. There are people who think it’s inconsiderate and thoughtless to describe a moment of sadness as feeling depressed because tomorrow that person will be back to their happy normal self. A person suffering from depression, however, can not do this. Because of this, I think it needs to be remembered “depressed” has more than one definition.
Depression – A state of feeling sad
Depression – A serious medical condition affecting somebody’s mental health
There is a difference between these two words, and without a tone of voice to be matched with them over social media, it can easily be misinterpreted. I’m not necessarily saying people should stop using it as a description of their emotion, but people need to be wary of their audience and whom it may affect.
Personally, it does not offend me if somebody said they were feeling depressed today. Today. That is the key. Depression is a lifetime battle as many will tell you. I have people in my family who suffer and they will tell you first hand it doesn’t go away on its own or forever. But feeling depressed as an emotion is only a short-term feeling. It’s not something that is with you long term or gives you continuous bad thoughts, and it’s something that can usually be overcome in a second by fixing the environmental change that caused that feeling.
My point in all this is, don’t take every word you read literally. Words mean different things to different people, and somebody who’s probably never known anyone suffering from depression would not understand why it could appear offensive. Possibly the most useful thing English literature taught me at GCSE is that it’s all about people’s perceptions of the words and not the words themselves.