We all feel a bit sad or down now and then. An especially bad day at work, a romantic heartbreak, a personal loss, or a simple disappointment can plunge even the strongest of us into the blues. But for most of us, sadness is a temporary feeling, a funk we shake off after a good night's sleep or a relaxing weekend away from work.

Depression is much more than that. It's not just a down feeling after a couple of bad days or a broken heart. Depression is a medical condition with emotional, behavioural/cognitive, and physical symptoms that can have a dramatic impact on your health and well-being.

When you have a major depressive episode, you experience a depressed mood and/or a loss of interest in or enjoyment from activities on most days, for nearly all of the day for at least 2 weeks. These symptoms must be new or noticeably worse than how you were functioning previously. When you have depression, you may lose interest in activities you once enjoyed - from treasured hobbies to spending time with friends and family, to even doing something so simple as watching television. And when you have depression, you may struggle through physical symptoms, like fatigue, pain, and changes to your appetite and sleep patterns. You may also experience reduced ability to think, concentrate, or make decisions. Click here for more information on how a doctor diagnoses depression based on your symptoms.

Thankfully, depression may be managed with the right treatment. People who feel overwhelmed or snowed under by depression can reconnect to the things in life that they love and value. And yet, because of the stigma associated with depression, many Canadians do not seek help for their depression.

If you're worried that you might have depression, learn more about the symptoms, risk factors, treatment options, and how to start talking to your doctor about depression.

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