Many people experience some form of depression in their lives. Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, difficulty sleeping, sleeping too much, loss of interest in activities, and weight changes ( gain or loss ) are some common symptoms.
While it is normal to have these symptoms for short periods of time, depression lasting for more than a few weeks may be a sign of clinical depression. In this type of depression, symptoms are usually present pretty much all day most of the time.
There are other types of depression such as bipolar disorder ( manic-depression ). This type of depression usually has periods of extreme euphoria followed by severe depression. Marked mood swings are a very important sign.
It is extremely important to seek help immediately if you or someone you know has thoughts of hurting themselves or someone else. Depression carries a high risk for suicide. Proper diagnosis and treatment is essential for severe depression and/or suicidal thoughts.
You need to know that you don't have to live with depression. There are very good treatment options available to help you live a normal, productive life. Being on medication doesn't mean you are not a good person or are not very strong, it just means that sometimes people need a little help to get over the hurdles that life brings. Many people are treated for depression every day. Medications for bipolar depression can dramatically change a person's life and help them function normally in their day to day activities.
Just remember that there are trained professionals that are there to help you. You are not alone!