What is depression?

What is depression?

Have you ever felt empty inside – alone, worried of the future, feeling like a failure? Most oftenly, you think that it’s just a temporary ‘down’ in your life;  that you’re just feeling sad. Perhaps, maybe it is. Going through many ups and downs in life is normal and it’s no surprise that we can feel sad and pain as well. But what if that sadness just keeps on coming back – again and again; worsening every single time it comes back? Then you might be suffering from depression.

How is sadness different from depression?

To understand depression, you need to know the difference of it and sadness first. Sadness is an emotional pain characterised by feelings of disadvantage, loss, grief, helplessness, disappointment and sorrow. Usually social support, positive activities and happy thoughts can easily help overcome sadness; making it relatively temporary – but this is where sadness is different from depression. 

Depression, in a way, is similar with sadness – it strongly affects a person’s mood and behaviour – but it also is entirely different. Overtime, depression can eventually lead to a point where people can no longer enjoy their favourite activities, experience a loss of appetite, have trouble getting asleep or get distracted easily.


“It’s so difficult to describe depression to someone who’s never been there, because it’s not sadness. It’s that cold absence of feeling; that really hollowed-out feeling.”
– J.K. Rowling

When it gets bad enough, depression will make people feel numb and empty. And will often lead to feelings of self-loathing that can progress to self-harm. Which may also continue to the most extreme – such as suicidal thoughts. This makes depression one of the major contributors to suicide cases, as reported by suicide.org. However, it should be known that these people who are experiencing depression is not at fault – they instead need help, not blaming.



The Biggest Challenge: Stigma on Depression in Indonesia

Stigma on depression is still very much alive in Indonesia. Most of the times, having depression is still dismissed as immature behaviour, weakness, and incompetence. This of course, does not solve the issues regarding depression but consequently worsens it. In fact, the stigma prevents those with depression to seek professional help or to open up. This stigma and misunderstanding continues to develop misconceptions that have kept the issue neglected – despite obvious significance it can bring to someone else’s lives.

This is the reason why Ribbon Run believes in reducing the stigma on depression; to help create a safer environment for you to speak up, to seek help, to support one another – to help you.

Feeling depressed does not mean that you are weak, incompetent or too sensitive. Don’t let others dismiss your feelings or reduce your hardships to nothing. For you should know that everyone has their own hardships and capabilities.


Your feelings are valid.

Your hardships are valid.


It may seem dark and hopeless at times, but know that you matter. You are not alone and you deserve to be happy.


“Believe me, every heart has its sorrows,
which the world knows not,
and oftentimes we call a man cold,
when he is only sad.”
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow