Depression is a common mental health condition that has a variety of physical and mental symptoms. Although we all feel down and fed up every now and again, depression is more than just that. If you have the condition, you can be sad for weeks, or even months at a time.
Types of depression include: mild depression, clinical depression, bipolar disorder, postnatal depression, seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
Living with this condition can be difficult, not only for sufferers, but also for those around them. Despite this, many sufferers will wait a long time before seeking help. This is especially true if they fear it will see them rejected, ridiculed or deprived of a sense of control. Others may simply be afraid to confront their problems.
How does it feel?
If you have the condition, you are likely to have at least five of the following depression symptoms:
You may feel:
- like life isn’t worth living
- constantly anxious, tearful and worried
- like you can’t concentrate
- irritable and intolerant of others
- you are not getting enough enjoyment out of life
- you have a lack of self-esteem
- you have excessive and inappropriate guilt
- you have no motivation or interest in things you used to enjoy.
You may exhibit:
- changes in sleeping patterns – broken nights or oversleeping
- changes in eating patterns – loss of appetite or overeating
- tiredness and a loss of energy
- persistent headaches and/or stomach upsets
- chronic pain
- a slower speaking pattern than usual
- loss of libido
- changes to your menstrual cycle.
You may also:
- neglect hobbies and interests
- isolate yourself from friends and family
- take part in fewer social activities
- notice your productivity falling at work.
You may not notice if you have developed depression, especially if it has been a gradual process over a number of weeks or months. Sometimes it takes a friend, a family member or a partner to point out that you may have a problem.