We all experience periods of low mood in our lifetime and feel miserable or sad about life. For some people these bouts of low mood can be short-lived and manageable, but for others these periods can become prolonged and can interfere with their day-to-day functioning.
When we are feeling low in mood we may have ways of dealing with it, some of which may be helpful, such as physical activity, having a healthy diet, engaging with friends and family, having a good sleep pattern and enjoying periods of relaxation. Sometimes we may have coping mechanisms that may not necessarily be helpful, like eating a bit more or less, avoiding friends, sleeping more or less, drinking alcohol etc. We need to become more self-aware and possibly seek help when these feelings of low mood and behaviours become ‘the norm’ rather than the exception.
Symptoms of depression may include any of the following:
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Self hatred
- An inability to enjoy things which were once pleasurable
- Loss of energy or motivation
- Loss of sex drive
- Disturbed sleep
- Poor concentration, indecisiveness
- Irritability, anger
- Social withdrawal
- Unexplained aches and pains
- Recurring thoughts of death or suicide
The key difference between depression and low mood is when the feelings continue despite taking positive steps to help manage low mood.