What is Depression
The word 'depression' is used to describe everyday feelings of low mood which can affect us all from time to time. Feeling sad or fed up is a normal reaction to experiences that are upsetting, stressful or difficult; those feelings will usually pass.
If you are affected by depression, you are not 'just' sad or upset. You have an illness which means that intense feeling of persistent sadness, helplessness and hopelessness are accompanied by physical effects such as sleeplessness, a loss of energy, or physical aches and pains.
Sometimes people may not realise how depressed they are, especially if they have been feeling the same for a long time, if they have been trying to cope with their depression by keeping themselves busy, or if their depressive symptoms are more physical than emotional.
Here is a list of the most common symptoms of depression. As a general rule, if you have experienced four or more of these symptoms, for most of the day nearly every day, for over two weeks, then you should seek help.
Tiredness and loss of energyPersistent sadnessLoss of self-confidence and self-esteemDifficulty concentratingNot being able to enjoy things that are usually pleasurable or interestingUndue feelings of guilt or worthlessnessFeelings of helplessness and hopelessnessSleeping problems - difficulties in getting off to sleep or waking up much earlier than usualAvoiding other people, sometimes even your close friendsFinding it hard to function at work/college/schoolLoss of appetiteLoss of sex drive and/ or sexual problemsPhysical aches and painsThinking about suicide and deathSelf-harm