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Is there any notable difference between the two? Example:

Whenever I was depressed, sounds would amplify themselves ten or twenty times, to the point they became indistinguishable from physical pain.

Whenever I got depressed, sounds would amplify themselves ten or twenty times, to the point they became indistinguishable from physical pain.

Does the meaning change? Or maybe one of the options is incorrect/not idiomatic?

  • To me, got depressed seems to suggest episodes of depression that did not last as long as those the speaker had when he was depressed. (Others may disagree.) – Erik Kowal Dec 24 '14 at 8:47
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    @ErikKowal - I don't get that sense (for AmE at least). Got is just a lower register for became. "I became sick", if anything, implies duration unspecified, while "I was sick" merely states a condition. Anyway, the examples are both very idiomatic. – anongoodnurse Dec 24 '14 at 8:56
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    Agree wth Erik I become sick relates to the starting point of the sickness and I am sick to the simple state of sickness. – Martin Dec 24 '14 at 9:05
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    According to CDO, talking about the 'get-passive': 'We use the get passive especially in informal speaking. When we use the get passive, we also place a little more emphasis on the nature of the action itself or on the person involved in the action [than we do when we use the ordinary passive].' Surely other {be + -ed form} and {get + -ed form} constructions reflect (or perhaps more probably inform) this difference in emphasis. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 24 '14 at 10:36
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Get depressed (or angry, or cold, or comfortable, or most physical or emotional states) is an informal equivalent to become depressed etc.

So whenever I got depressed focuses the moments when I became depressed, while whenever I was depressed focuses on the times when I was in a state of depression. For many purposes they are interchangeable.

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