Depression – The Daddy of Them All

When it comes to invisible illnesses, it could be said that depression is the Daddy of them all – it’s a slippery customer which is often misunderstood as it comes dressed as an emotion.

What does the word ‘depression’ really mean? It may be a short-lived feeling of despair and hopelessness. It can also mean a period of little business activity and low economic growth. An area of low pressure on a weather map is a depression, and so is the impression someone leaves in the couch when they stand up. You can even depress a button to test whether your jar of jam has been opened in the shop.

The term lacks the precision you’d associate with a medical diagnosis – it is ambiguous, and all-too-easily dismissed.

Compare ‘depression’ with ‘diabetes’, ‘hyperthyroidism’ or ‘acromegaly’. Perhaps not all of these conditions are familiar to you, but they sound serious, don’t they? All of these conditions are caused by hormonal imbalance, and can be very dangerous if not properly diagnosed and treated – just like depression.

During the menopause or following a hysterectomy, women are particularly susceptible to hormonal imbalances which contribute to depression. When oestrogen levels decrease, production of serotonin, the brain’s ‘happy hormone’ also decreases – so many women find themselves experiencing clinical depression for the first time at this point. And because depression chemically alters the way your mind perceives your feelings, you may feel defeated, ashamed, even embarrassed of your depression. Many depression patients resist diagnosis, and have to be coerced into receiving treatment by close friends and family.

If this sounds familiar, the good news is you’re not alone. Depression is a huge and increasing health concern, with over 350 million sufferers globally. Pharmaceuticals companies are constantly investing in new or improved treatments for depression, and clinical trials are conducted frequently.

If you are fortunate enough to have never suffered with depression, or you have fully recovered from a past incidence, you can participate in clinical trials as a healthy volunteer. It’s a great way to stand up in support of patients who are battling invisible illnesses, and to drag conditions like depression, kicking and screaming, into the light!

For a full listing of Covance’s current trials, you can visit the website, or call 0113 394 5200 for more details.

(Image: Melencolia I (ca. 1514), by Albrecht Dürer, Wikipedia)


  1. I had a partial hysterectomy when I was 27 (I’m 46 now). Doctors took out my womb and cervix but left my ovaries in.
    After a few weeks I started having depression where I was just constantly crying on and off for about 2 months or so. I was prescribed anti-depressants but I stopped taking them because they made me so groggy to the point where I couldn’t get out of bed in the mornings! That was the worst I’ve felt in my life.
    I am not taking any anti-depressants and I still get depressed on and off. It’s like a rollercoaster, up and down. I still cry but the last few years, I’ve felt like I shouldn’t be here at all. I wouldn’t commit suicide as I rather have a natural death (hoping so and not one via illness).
    I live alone and only have one friend who has her own life to lead and works which is understandable. I have no close family members and I’ve no children of my own either. I have no partner. I feel life is passing me by nowadays and however hard I try to think positive, I just can’t seem to stay on track.
    Is it worth me visiting my doctor as I don’t want them kind of depressants again?
    I never had any support or advice given to me after my partial hysterectomy at that time. I left the hospital after being told I will need to visit again for check ups which I still have to this day.

  2. It seems that some of what you are describing could easily be menopausal symptoms. In addition, life circumstances are challenging which will be exacerbating some of them as well. Might be worth chatting with your GP about what might help.

  3. I had an Hysterectomy last November,i suffered complications which put me in hospital for two weeks after surgery due to a bleed on the wound site that caused an infection.
    I’m suffering hot flushes and feel stressed out most days.Everything is an effort,i don’t sleep well.
    I’m working 18 hours as a part-time cleaner,also i try to help my daughter and my Grandson who is 8 months old,as my daughter suffers depression.
    I don’t feel i can cope with anything more than what i’m doing in life.
    I feel as though something happened that has changed me since my op,and i don’t like it.
    Is this a normal reaction for alot of women?

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