Depressing (A Brief Guide)

In this guide, we will discuss what depressing means. 

What does depressing mean?

The definition of depressing, according to the Oxford dictionary, is “Causing or resulting in a feeling of miserable rejection”.

In contrast, the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines depressing as “that depresses…causing emotional depression”. 

Moreover, the Cambridge dictionary defines it as “making you feel unhappy and without hope for the future” or according to the Macmillan Dictionary “something that is depressing makes you feel very unhappy and disappointed”. 

Some other words for depressing are:

  • Daunting
  • Heartbreaking
  • Black 
  • Saddening
  • Distressing
  • Disheartening 
  • Dreary 
  • Feeling Blue

So, you may be wondering what makes something depressing? Well, it depends and varies from one person to the other.

However, depressing things make you feel sad and it can actually be related to how you feel with yourself or how you tend to focus on thoughts related to weaknesses, defects or the lack of something/someone.

When we hear something or we see something we consider depressing, our entire facial expressions can change, our tone of voice and how we feel at that precise moment.

It is a feeling of sadness and sorrow that takes over, usually for a short period of time and while we are having those depressing thoughts for instance, due to bad news or a song on the radio or the weather conditions. 

Depressing is an adjective used to describe a situation or a thing, however, the word family indicates depression (noun) as closely related to the term.

The noun may be considered as a more permanent state or way of feeling that can make us feel as if we were alone and we can even feel a lot of physical pain, have trouble sleeping or not even wanting to get out of bed. 

Feeling depressed is part of our human and emotional nature, every once in a while it is normal to feel down but when that feeling stays for a prolonged amount of time then it may be considered a mental illness.

This tends to interfere with our daily routine and activities turning into a disability. 

What means to be depressed?

Depression is considered a mental disorder that involves a persistent feeling of sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest in activities that you used to enjoy.

However, it is important to mention that there is a difference between the mood fluctuations that can take place during your normal functioning and day to day activities. 

Events such as losing someone you love, receiving bad news or losing your job are considered some of the reasons for depression, especially if the symptoms persist and last at least 2 weeks.

However, depression can persist for several weeks, months or even years. 

Signs and symptoms

According to Laura Goldman from Medical News Today and Mayo Clinic, some of the symptoms may include:

  • Having a depressed mood, feeling sad, tearful, empty or hopeless
  • Feeling irritable or frustrated even over small things
  • Anhedonia or loss of interest for activities you used to enjoy before
  • Loss of sexual appetite
  • Weight gain or weight loss due to changes in your appetite
  • Sleeping too much or too little (insomnia)
  • Frequent or recurrent suicidal thoughts or thoughts of death
  • Having medical problems such as recurrent headaches or back pain without being an organic reason 
  • Feeling anxious, agitated or restless
  • Slowed movement and/or speech
  • Feeling fatigued or drained
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Having difficulties thinking or concentrating

In addition, it is believed that depression is more common in women than in men, apparently because men are usually reluctant to seek professional help when feeling depressed.

Also, it is important to rule out any underlying medical conditions since thyroid problems, vitamin deficiencies or brain tumors can mimic some of the symptoms of depression. 

Symptoms in children and teens

According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms manifested in children and teens are very similar to those in adults but there can be some differences such as:

  • In younger children, symptoms of depression may include sadness, irritability, clinginess, worry, aches, and pains, refusing to go to school or being underweight.
  • In teens, symptoms may include sadness, irritability, feeling negative and worthless, anger, poor performance or poor attendance at school, feeling misunderstood and extremely sensitive, using recreational drugs or intoxicating drink, eating or sleeping too much, self-harm, loss of interest in normal activities, and avoidance of social interaction.

Risk Factors and Causes of depression

Depression can affect anyone but there are some suggested factors that can increase the risk of developing depression such as:

  • Brain chemistry: it has been suggested that an imbalance in brain chemistry may contribute to the symptoms related to depression. Neurotransmitters are involved in regulating mood, meaning when there are significant changes in their function then depressive symptoms tend to manifest. 
  • Genetics or inherited traits:  researchers have suggested that the risk of depression can increase if there are relatives that have also suffered from depression. 
  • Personality: some people with certain personality traits are more prone to developing depression due to low self-esteem or lacking the skills to cope with stress-related situations.
  • Environmental factors: events or situations such as being exposed to ferosity, neglect, abuse or poverty can make some people vulnerable to depression.
  • Hormones: Changes in the hormonal balance have been suggested to play a role in triggering depressive symptoms. Some conditions related are postpartum depression and menopause. 
  • intoxicating drink and drug abuse.
  • Ceratin medications have been suggested to contribute to developing depression, such as high blood pressure medication or sleeping pills. 

Treatment approaches for depression

Depression is considered one of the most treatable mental health conditions, where people tend to gain relief from the symptoms. 

A mental health professional, after assessing, evaluating and diagnosing depression, after ruling out any other underlying conditions, he/she will suggest some of the following treatments proven to be effective to treat this condition.

  • Medication: since we have discussed brain chemistry can play a role in developing depression, your mental health provider may prescribe an antidepressant to help with the neurochemistry imbalance.  However, the antidepressant medication won’t work immediately, it can take a couple of weeks before you can start seeing an improvement of your symptoms.
  •  Psychotherapy: in some cases, talk therapy combined with the antidepressant medication is suggested. One of the most common types of therapy is CBT or cognitive behavioral therapy, where the aim is to focus on the present and provide problem-solving skill training. Here, you can identify those distorted thoughts to be able to modify your behavior. 

Some professionals may suggest group or family therapy and a significant improvement can be noticed after having 10 to 15 sessions.   

  • Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT): for some people who are not responding to antidepressant medication or psychotherapy, ECT is suggested. This involved a brief electrical stimulation to the brain while you are under anesthesia. According to the American Psychiatric Association, a patient can receive ECT between 2 to 3 times a week for a total of 6 to 12 treatment sessions, involving a multidisciplinary team consisting of a psychiatrist, an anesthesiologist and a nurse or physician assistant.

Why is this blog about “depressing” important?

It is important to notice the difference between something that can be perceived as depressing for a short period of time and depression which involves a more persistent state and can become very disabling if left untreated. 

For some people, self-help and coping strategies such as establishing a regular exercising routine, meditation, eating healthy and avoiding intoxicating drink can help to reduce the symptoms and improving their mood, but for some, other treatments such as medication, psychotherapy or ECT seem to be their only option to overcome depression. 

If you have identified the symptoms related to depression and they are currently affecting your way of living, we suggest seeking professional help.

Remember you are not alone and there are many treatment options to help you battle depression. 

Please feel free to comment in the comments section below!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about depressing

What do you mean by depressing?

According to, depressing is meant to refer to lessen the activity or power of something.

For example, if you want to avoid poverty from spreading in a country then you need to find ways to “slow it down”  such as implementing programs to provide education to the poorest communities.

This word is said to come from the old french word “depresser” which in terms means “put down by force”.

What’s a fancy word for SAD?

Some of the synonyms for the word “sad” could be unhappy, gloomy, dispirited, depressed, melancholy, grieved, disheartened, lamenting, mourning, pessimistic, crushed, brokenhearted, heartsick, dejected, pensive, heavy-hearted, among others. 

Is depressing a adjective?

Yes, depressing is considered an adjective and depression (noun) as part of the word family.

How do you use melancholy in a sentence? 

Some examples of how to use melancholy in a sentence are (

– He had many melancholy reflections of his old school days.

– That makes the film rather melancholy, although it’s basically a romantic story.

– Melancholy descended over her with the rain.

– There was a melancholy mood by the river.

– Oddly, the sound seemed more melancholy than menacing.

What does it mean to be heavy-hearted?

Heavy-hearted means being in a sad or miserable state, feeling depressed or melancholy.

Synonyms can include despondent, bad, blue, brokenhearted, forlorn, saddened, woebegone, woeful, joyless, low, gloomy, glum, downcast, doleful, depressed, hangdog, sorrowful, heartsore, disconsolate, down in the mouth, droopy, among others.



Cambridge dictionary

Macmillan Dictionary

American Psychiatric Association

Mayo Clinic

Medical News Today