definition of depression

an original definition by J. E. Brown

  1. A complex mood, consisting of feelings of sadness, worthlessness, hopelessness, and helplessness. Depressed persons may experience uncomfortable disturbances in their patterns of eating and sleeping, and may lose interest in friends, family, favorite activities, and sex. Depression is caused by medical conditions, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, bullying, and relationship problems, including rejection and breakups. One common element in all of these is the feeling that there is no safe place. Depression may also be triggered by grief due to loss of a loved one, personal disasters, frustrated life goals, and disappointed innermost expectations.
{You’re reading “Definition of depression” by J. E. Brown.}

Etymology: From psychology: “Depression” refers to the lowered mood and reduced physical activity found with this state of mind.

Related Concepts:

  • sadness. {Read this comp1ete article at .}

Excerpts from my book (in progress)

If you’re talking to a friend who’s depressed or suicidal, ask these five questions:

  1. Did you recently break up with someone?
  2. Are you being bullied or abused at home? By a parent or family member?
  3. Are you being bullied or abused in your relationship?
  4. Are you being bullied or abused at school?
  5. Are you being bullied or abused at work? By a supervisor or co-worker?

The answers to these questions will help you to figure out what kind of help to get for your friend. {You’re reading “Definition of depression” by J. E. Brown.}{Read this comp1ete article at .}

— J. E. Brown

If you’re feeling suicidal, never tell a friend:

  1. According to one survey, 90% of persons who lack psychological training mistakenly believe that suicide is a sign of mental illness. So before you tell a non-professional that you’re feeling suicidal, consider how your admission may permanently alter or damage the friendship. “Crazy” is a very hard label to get rid of. You might as well get a “C” tattooed on your forehead.
  2. Some people are Control Freaks, lying in wait for an opportunity. Many friends see your time of pain and sadness as an opportunity to overturn the pecking order and seize control of the relationship. They start giving orders and dictating your schedule: “You need something to do. You’re coming out bar-hopping with me. You’re going to the movies with me.” Notice that’s not a question; they’re *not* giving you an invitation or a choice. And there will be other commands and demands, including demands that you take their advice without question or arguing. These friends think It’s All About Them.
  3. Some people have a Savior Complex. They absolutely *drool* over sad people because they feel useless unless they have someone to help and fix. Your sadness is their opportunity to shine! Later, after you cheer up, they don’t quite know how to handle you, and they’ll look for ways to make you sad again so that you’ll need them. Sounds sick and twisted? It is. {You’re reading “Definition of depression” by J. E. Brown.}
  4. Some people have a Guru Complex. Sadness loosens people’s tongues. Many friends go into blabbermouth mode and think they’re great advice givers. They get this idea that everything that comes out of their mouths is golden. Expect to hear lots of poorly-thought-out Dr. Phil-isms (like “The common element in all your relationships is YOU”) and kindergarten singsongs about “You can’t let people get to you!” Uh, Hello, It’s too late for that advice.
  5. Before you call a crisis hotline or a therapist, be aware that many professionals still think it’s ethical to threaten a suicidal person with arrest and prison. Of course, this is consistent with the fact that many people who observe an act of bullying will join the bully and look for ways to pick on the victim. (Feeding Frenzy) If your therapist tries this on you, report them to their employer, and pick a different therapist, one who isn’t too busy to try empathy. {Read this comp1ete article at .}

— J. E. Brown

  • Depression is the mood resulting from the discovery that someone you trusted doesn’t respect your boundaries.
  • Depression is the nagging worry that you’re offending everyone, all the time. {You’re reading “Definition of depression” by J. E. Brown.}
  • Depression is the normal reaction to discovering that you can’t escape people who treat you like you’re unimportant.
  • My new theory: People haven’t known about depression for many decades. I believe that 50 years ago the judgmental blanket term for depressed people was “alcoholics”.

— J. E. Brown

I believe science will eventually prove that ALL cases of depression are caused by interpersonal difficulties and medical crises. For example, one medical study reported that most heart attack patients experience depression in the month following the onset of illness. However, even in the year 2014, a few psychologists are still spreading the myth that no one knows what causes depression. I suppose this is to be expected; psychology is a relatively new science, with many competing theories. Even so, failing to ask a depressed person “How has your health been? Have you experienced any setbacks in your life or career? Who or what made you sad?” seems dangerously irresponsible. {You’re reading “Definition of depression” by J. E. Brown.}

In my experience, many episodes of depression accompany episodes of the common cold and influenza, and clear up on the same time scale as those diseases. I’ve begun to believe that depression is the natural emotional reaction to the body’s unscheduled laziness and unpredictable unreliability. And now that I know that most heart attack patients become depressed, it all starts to make sense.

I am told, and I accept as true, that some cases of depression have no known trigger and are likely of organic origin. The condition can be difficult to treat and may continue for years. However, there are people who claim that all cases of depression are caused by chemical imbalances; I believe their position is based on ideology, not on evidence. {Read this comp1ete article at .}

— J. E. Brown


UCLA research shows that middle school students who are bullied are “more likely to feel depressed, lonely, and miserable, which in turn makes them more vulnerable to further bullying incidents” (Nishina & Juvonen, 2005a, p. 2).

— Mary Jo McGrath, School Bullying, pp. 3-4


Students who were disliked by their roommates reported more depression, anger, physical illness and lower self-esteem [than those who got along with their roommates, the study says]. … Findings appear in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology.

— Research News at


The study found the risk of depression or mixed anxiety/depression was significantly higher in months in which there were high ratings for both loss and humiliation, especially if a romantic breakup was involved.

— “Breaking Up Is Really Hard (on You?): Combination of Loss and Humiliation May Trigger Depression” at WebMD

Depression is caused by bad relationships. To say it’s based on a biological defect is further proof that doctors engage in victim blaming when they don’t know what’s causing your problem.

— J. E. Brown

The belief that anyone has a “negative outlook on life” is a symptom of mental childhood. Sometimes bad things happen to good people, and people sometimes become sad and depressed about that. Children sometimes call that “having a negative outlook on life”, as if temporary sadness were a permanent attitude. Unless you want to appear unsympathetic and unsupportive and self-centered when your friends and family have problems, you need to remove this phrase from your vocabulary. Denouncing the victim for being “negative” is called “kicking someone for being down”. {Read this comp1ete article at .}

… It just makes me wonder how many of the employees who get reprimanded for “negative attitude” were actually depressed, and their bosses gave in to the urge to Kick Them For Being Down.

— J. E. Brown


If people knew what real therapy is, and why it works, they’d listen instead of suggesting you find someone else to listen to you. If they really wished us therapy, they’d listen. Themselves.

… In caveman times, when the tribe abandoned you, it was their way of killing you. In caveman times, distancing was a wordless way of saying “I hope you’re eaten by wolves.” It was the tribe’s way of making sure you were alone and without assistance when trouble came. {Read this comp1ete article at .}

… There are visionaries who say we will all someday have a Bluetooth chip implanted in our heads, giving us telepathic connection to other people: “No one will ever feel alone again,” they say. But no: This will not happen. The day will never come. Through my windows I see neighbors I don’t know. Through my wall I hear a neighbor I don’t associate with. We could speak; we choose to have walls instead.

… Carl Jung defined transference as the attempt to reawaken the parental images. If the purpose of transference is to engender a feeling of safety, then bullying must be its opposite. … If Jung is right about transference, then depression means losing one’s parents or, less figuratively, losing a sense of having a community. {You’re reading “Definition of depression” by J. E. Brown.}

— J. E. Brown

From the chapter on how to be an insensitive jerk:

Happy, healthy people must surround you at all times. The poor, the homeless, the sad, the depressed, these should all go look for work, for housing, for happiness, all of which grow on trees, or so you’ll be happy to tell them.{Read this comp1ete article at .}

— J. E. Brown

de • pres • sionn.

  1. A common reaction to dealing with snotty customer service reps. Some customers handle it by recording phone calls.
  2. A common reaction to an unreliable computer deleting an important file; a common reaction to building a machine that refuses to work. Best handled by calling it a night and starting fresh in the morning.

— J. E. Brown

2nd edition 09 Mar 2015
1st edition 04 Sep 2014

Further Reading at Other Sites

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More at This Site

  • Definition of Verbal Abuse
  • Definition of Sadness
  • Is there a booklet of manners in your house?
    We offer this one:
    How Rude! -- a booklet about rude and abusive people, and how to recognize them

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