what is depression
what is depression

What is depression?

Everyone has ups and downs and there may be times when you feel a bit low, or experience grief when you lose someone you love or have a major life changing event.

Depression is a long lasting low mood that affects your ability to do everyday things, feel pleasure, or take interest in activities. It can happen just once in your life time or can be on-going, often in varying degrees. Many people manage to cope with their depression with exercise, keeping busy and positive but then the smallest event can be a trigger to a feeling of not coping and becoming extremely stressed.

Depression can affect people of any age, including children, and it is one of the most common mental illnesses. About one in ten people will be diagnosed with depression in their life. More women are diagnosed than men; this could be because women are more likely to seek help either by talking to their GP or talking to friends.

Depression shows itself in many different ways, and symptoms can vary widely between different people.

If you feel sad, hopeless and lose interest in things you used to enjoy; and if your symptoms persist for weeks or months and are bad enough to interfere with your work, social life and family life, then it is likely that you are suffering from depression.

Depression is:

  • A mental illness that is recognised worldwide
  • Affects about one in ten of us
  • Something that anyone can get
  • Treatable

Depression is not:

  • Something you can ‘snap out of’
  • A sign of weakness
  • Something that everyone experiences
  • Something that lasts forever

‘Symptoms of Depression’

You are unlikely to have every one listed below but If you experience five or more of these symptoms for most of the day, every day, for more than two weeks, it’s recommended that you seek help from your doctor:

Psychological Symptoms

  • continuous low mood or sadness
  • feeling numb, empty and helpless
  • experiencing a sense of unreality
  • being preoccupied with negative thoughts;
  • lacking self-confidence and self-esteem
  • feeling tearful; crying a lot
  • blaming yourself and feeling unnecessarily guilty about things
  • unusually irritable, impatient and intolerant of others
  • no motivation or interest in things
  • difficulty in concentrating, remembering things and making decisions
  • getting no pleasure out of life or what you usually enjoy
  • suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming yourself
  • feeling anxious or worried, restless agitated

Physical Symptoms

  • moving or speaking more slowly than usual
  • changes in appetite or weight (decrease or increase)
  • constipation
  • physical aches and pains with no physical cause
  • feeling tired and lacking energy; doing less and less
  • losing interest in sex
  • changes in the menstrual cycle
  • disturbed sleep

If you or anyone you know has a number of these symptoms then getting help is important. Your GP is a good start and they will be able to help and support you.

Don’t leave it, we all deserve to be happy and in good health mentally and physically


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