Depression is rapidly becoming one of the biggest causes of illness worldwide. Being depressed is more than just feeling sad or having a low mood. It is not a condition where people can just 'pull themselves together' and get on with things.
Symptoms of depression may include any of the following:
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Self hatred
- An inability to enjoy things which were once pleasurable
- Weight gain/loss
- Loss of energy or motivation
- Loss of sex drive
- Disturbed sleep
- Poor concentration, indecisiveness
- Irritability, anger
- Social withdrawal
- Unexplained aches and pains
- Self harm
- Recurring thoughts of death or suicide
Further information on symptoms can also be accessed here.
Depression can impact upon you in a variety of ways and will often have an effect on multiple areas of your life.
Physically you may find changes in your appetite which can lead to weight loss or gain. Similarly your sleep pattern can change, you may be unable to sleep or find yourself sleeping too much, you may feel achy and lacking in energy. Simple tasks like washing or dressing yourself can begin to feel impossible so you may also lose interest in your personal appearance.
Depression can leave you feeling numb, irritable or with a persistent low mood. You may cry a lot or find that you want to cry but are unable to. You may stop enjoying the things you used to take pleasure in doing and become anxious over things that would not usually bother you.
Your way of thinking can be altered by depression. You feel bad about yourself and can lose confidence in your own abilities leaving you with low self esteem. People with depression often become preoccupied with negative thoughts and become unable to feel hopeful about the future.
Depression is a condition which affects people in different ways; this means that the coping strategies people adopt can be very individual. You can seek help from your GP who may offer you a range of options such as antidepressant drugs, counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy.
Exercise works well to release feel good hormones into the body and to increase your energy levels. However, depression can leave you feeling unmotivated or lacking in energy to start with, so you may wish to try relaxing, gentle exercise such as yoga, pilates or walking. Visit our health and wellbeing section for some ideas.
When you are depressed, being sociable may seem like the last thing you feel like doing, but if you are able to keep family and friends around you then this can help you feel less lonely and more supported. You may just appreciate the company of having someone else there and you don't necessarily have to talk about your depression, but if you do want to tell them how you are feeling, but don't know where to start, you could try writing it down instead.
Please also look at our leaflet "Stop saying 'I'm fine' if you're not".
Mind Your Head's Chairperson Shona Manson talks about her black dog in mental health matters.
Remember, if you are concerned about your health in the first instance make an appointment with your GP. Also check out our support sources at the bottom of this page for more information and places where you can receive support.
Moodjuice - depression self help guide
Learn more about depression and skills to cope with it.
NHS Choices - information on clinical depression
Includes information on depression and advice on when to see your GP and available treatments.
Includes information and online resources.
Write to recovery
Everybody has a story. Writing it down can help you in many different ways. This website is designed to help people affected by mental health problems on their journey of recovery. It invites you to write your stories and experiences – and gives you tools to inspire you.
Telephone: 08457 90 90 90 (24 hours a day) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Provides confidential, non-judgmental emotional support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those that could lead to suicide. You can phone, email, write a letter or in most cases talk to someone face to face.
Telephone: 0800 83 85 87 (Mon-Thurs 6pm-2am / Fri 6pm-Mon 6am) You are not alone and talking about how you feel is a positive first step in getting help. So don't let problems get out of hand, phone Breathing Space where experienced advisors will listen and provide information and advice.
Telephone: 0845 767 8000 (6pm-11pm) Saneline is a national mental health helpline providing information and support to people with mental health problems and those who support them.