dear Chris, well there have been some great comments here, however the past tense for 'suffers' is actually 'suffers', while present tense is used in a phrase such as 'is suffering', or we could say is 'experiencing depression', 'feeling depressed' or showing signs or symptoms of being depressed, or signs and symptoms of depression'.
I have arthritis, caused by pouring pot after pot or by hampering a nail in here there and everywhere and yes I'm old, but I do suffer from it's aches and pains, but I could also say I 'experience arthritis' or I suffer from arthritis', so to me it's the second word that carries most of the weight, that is 'depression or arthritis'.
I was replying to a post where this particular person was having a terrible time, had depression, family break-up, and in the context of my reply I was going to use the word 'suffering', but after reading this post early this morning I decided to refrain from using it.
Everybody has had different types or sorts of depression, and it doesn't matter whether it's been 2 months or 20 years because we all know that it's such a debilitating illness, but each of us may have put it to bed, learnt to overcome it, or have been able to control it as much as we can, so we all have our own expressions, and to me it doesn't matter whether you use the word 'experience, signs, symptoms or suffer' when you want to relay the word 'depression'.
The person we are trying to help wouldn't care much what word out of the four or perhaps another word we use, but when they recognise the word depression, we then have drawn their attention.
The word 'depression' said to someone could be a negative indication that they are not well, but I don't think that it's any sign 'not to get well', but that they need to get well. Geoff.