I'm worried about what people will think of me.

One of the biggest worries among people with depression is how people will react to the news of their condition. "What will family and friends think of me?" "Will they think I'm weak?" "Will they tell me to snap out of it?"

You don't have to tell anyone about your depression if you don't want to. If you do, though, make sure they have the facts about depression. Educate them so that they understand that depression is not a sign of personal weakness or a flaw in character, but is a medical condition with emotional, behavioural/cognitive, and physical symptoms that can have a dramatic impact on your health and well-being. Tell them where they can get more information on depression and how to help a person with depression, for example any of the many support groups for family and friends of people with depression.

Depression is a common, serious, and treatable condition. But don't get discouraged if you are not able to resolve your symptoms with the first treatment you try. You may need to try different antidepressant medications in order to meet your goal of resolving symptoms. Therefore, it’s very important to talk to your doctor about finding the right medication for you, even if it takes some time, to restore your ability to function in your daily life.

Depression can have a major impact on your life, and you can access a wide variety of effective treatment options. So if you think you or someone you love has depression, talk to a doctor. If you're unsure how to bring up the topic, the Doctor Discussion Guide can help you to start the dialogue with your doctor.

I feel alone. Am I the only person with depression?

One thing is for certain: You are most definitely not the only person with depression! In fact, depression is quite common. It affects approximately 121 million people globally and is among the leading causes of disability worldwide. To put this into perspective, that's over 3.5 times the current population of Canada.

About 11% of Canadians will have serious depression in their lifetime.Experts say this figure is probably underestimated. In a given year, more women (5%) than men (2.9%) will experience at least one bout of serious depression. However, this difference between the sexes becomes smaller as women and men age.

At any one time, one employee in every 20 experiences depression. And when people with depression continue to work, they may not perform as well in certain work tasks when compared to those who do not have depression.

People with depression have a higher rate of many physical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. In fact, depression increases the risk for heart disease and diabetes. In Canada, depression is also strongly associated with neurological conditions, such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and epilepsy, and to pain conditions, including migraines and back problems.

Even knowing the risks, it's absolutely natural that you might hesitate to talk to people about your depression symptoms. The symptoms can feel so isolating. And it can be difficult to put into words what it actually feels like - in your body and in your mind - when you are depressed. You may even be hesitant to share your symptoms because you worry about the reaction from your family and friends.

Know that when you talk to your doctor or ask your family for help, you have taken the first step on your road to recovery and your return to the things you love and enjoy about your life.

Is taking an antidepressant medication a sign of weakness?

Depression is not a character or personal weakness, and neither is treating it. In fact, choosing to treat your depression can be incredibly empowering. Depression is a medical condition with emotional, behavioural/cognitive, and physical symptoms that can have a dramatic impact on your health and well-being. Getting treatment can be the first step to help you reconnect to the things that matter to you.

For more information on depression and its management, visit www.depressionhurts.ca.