Major Depression will impact over 3 million Canadians in their lifetime. And for Canadians between the ages of 15 and 24, at least 11% of them have already experienced depression.

Afganistan has the highest rates of depression with almost 8 million Afghans reporting experiencing it. Globally, close to 265 million people suffer from depression.


Being something and having something are subtle but significant distinctions to make in English language. Being something implies that it encompasses us entirely. Having something indicated a level of control and autonomy over the thing we have. 

Perhaps the language we use around depression should be more closely scrutinized. I have depression, it is a part of my life. However, I am not depressed as it is not my entire life- although it feels that way at times.

Of course we also say, “I am sick,” and not “I have sickness.” Depression is a sickness, and while we recognize it as such, we still don’t talk about it in those terms. We talk about it as if it is all of ourself instead of a part of ourself or an experience happening to us. 

A shift in perspective

Also similar to colds, a diagnosis helps recovery time and allows you to feel like yourself much faster than “letting it run its course.” Because unlike a cold, the ramifications of letting depression “run its course” can be fatal. One thing we do know is that major depression does increase suicide risk compared to people without depression.

When we have a cold we don’t want to go to the doctor, but we know if we do we will get what we need to feel better faster. Whether that’s advice or a prescription. When you’re depressed, you need to see a doctor so you can get what you need to feel better faster too. 

Depression looks different for everyone. Some people become physically impaired, others are high functioning, or inexplicably angry and impatient. When I’m depressed I always feel hard to love, even though I logically know I’m not and that I’m sick. 

Psychologists and psychiatrists admit that depression is so vast the amount we do know about it is negligible. There is no “typical” when it comes to depression. What we do know is that it is a mental illness and like any other physical ailment, it should be treated as such. 

Seeking help

When you’re in a depressive episode it’s impossible to remember that you don’t always feel the way you currently do. Just like when you have a cold and can’t remember a life before you had to blow your nose every 30 seconds.

The bitter reality is that when you’re in a depressive episode, you often don’t want to seek help. What might shift your perspective is if you treat having depression like having a cold.

Unfortunately society is not at a place where therapy is normalized and affordable for everyone. If you can’t afford a therapist, you’ve still got options:

Check with your insurance

Try a training clinic

Try a community mental health center

Read self-help books

Attend support groups

Ask about discounted rates

Check out podcasts and videos

Visit websites for your particular concern

Consult your congregation

Consider body therapy

The Next Step

You’re sick, but you will get better. You can do this. Take it one step at a time. If you have depression but you’re in a good place right now, be proactive. Seek professional help so you’re prepared for the next depressive episode. 

I’d love to know…

What does depression look like for you?