Depression has been a constant in my life since I was in my teens. Back then I had no idea there was such a thing as clinical depression. I just remember sitting on the living room, listening to rock LP's and crying my eyes out as I sang along. When those moods came over me, I sought out the saddest songs, and crying felt like such relief. My mom never commented on it, so either she did not notice or she chalked it up to adolescence.
In my early 20's I described myself on a letter to a boyfriend: "Ingrid es por definición un ser triste" (literally translated as "Ingrid is by definition a sad being"). My father had died a few months before I wrote that, so I guess that was a big part of it. I never questioned it, I never wondered why I was sad, or why could it not be different. I just assumed that was who I was. I was at the same time ashamed of my weakness of character, and proud of my very sensitive nature. One thing I knew, other people don't like to put up with drama and tragedy, so I hardly ever talked to others about how I truly felt. This did not help at all. Like a friend from my Mommy Board told me recently "depression feeds off internalization".
I am in my late thirties. It has taken me years to understand and accept that depression is a clinical problem, not a character flaw. I have become very attuned to my moods and can recognize when the monster rears its ugly head. Knowledge is power, and even though I can't change the mood swings, I can control them better.