What Mark Twain and 20.9 Million Americans Have In Common

Depression isn’t funny whether it’s an occasional “blue” day or a life-long struggle.

Author Mark Twain (born Samuel Clements) may have spoken and written some very funny words but few know that he suffered from depression and shares this medical condition with composers Cole Porter, Stephen Austin, and Kurt Cobain.

Many more notable people have been affected by depression including former US President Abraham Lincoln, World War II English Prime Minister Winston Churchill, actor Christian Bale, and musician Eric Clapton.

Who do you know that might be affected by depression? Maybe the person in the cubicle next to you carefully hides their depression issues.

According to the National Institutes of Health, depression falls under mood disorders, and approximately 9.5 percent of the U.S. population age 19 and older in a given year have a mood disorder.

Scott Lennox, a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) and program counselor on the staff at Baylor All Saints Medical Center in Fort Worth, discusses ways people can identify if they are encountering depression.

Is depression a whole body illness?

Depression is a whole body illness – it affects so much of the human being.  It affects how we think, how we feel. It affects how we engage with other people.

Why is depression like a puzzle?

There is no one factor that causes someone to be depressed. No one thing is going to cause depression. It’s a series of events. it’s a collection of things.

What’s difference between depression and “feeling blue?”

We all have times when we feel a little blue or “off our game”.  The encouraging news is that’s going to pass, and sometimes pretty quickly. With clinical depression the feeling doesn’t go away and the feeling is much, much deeper.

Explain different forms of depression?

There is multiple forms and multiple faces to clinical depression.  There is major depression which could be a single episode or multiple episodes and also dysthymic depression where a person feels a little off.  Finally, there is bipolar where a person may pass from periods of elation to depression.

Can you manage depression on your own?

There are definitely some things we can do on our own to make the experience of depression a little more manageable.  Watch what you’re thinking to yourself and about yourself.  Connect with other people – don’t isolate yourself.

When should you seek professional help?

If the experience of depression isn’t lifting in spite of connecting with others, getting more focused, getting more sleep and other adjustments, then you may want to seek professional help.

Take action, ask questions and help them seek aid. Take this interactive quiz for some direction to see if you or someone you know might be affected by depression or learn more in the video below.

About the author

Susan Hall
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Susan joined Baylor many years ago when Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas was the only Baylor facility in the area. When not at work, she’s outside – Big Bend National Park is her favorite with Glacier National Park a close second.

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What Mark Twain and 20.9 Million Americans Have In Common