Depression is more than simply feeling unhappy or fed up for a few days. Most people go through periods of feeling down but, when you’re depressed, you feel persistently sad and hopeless for weeks or months, rather than just a few days. It is a deeply painful state where you feel changed and unlike your usual self.
“It starts as feeling tired and sad and then I feel myself avoiding everyone. I feel no-one likes me. I feel unlovable and then want to shut down completely.”
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- What is it?
- Common Symptoms
- How Let's Talk can help
It is a mood disorder, characterised by a persistent low mood and a wide range of other possible symptoms, which will vary from person to person. Depression can develop quickly or gradually, and may be triggered by life events. Your thoughts may become negative about yourself, others, and the world in general.
Depression can become so severe that it leaves you no longer wanting to be alive as you feel unable to manage day-to-day, no longer gaining pleasure in your life, avoiding other people and not feeling able to cope with even the routine activity of the day.
- Persistent sadness or low mood.
- Marked loss of interest or pleasure in activities, even for activities that you normally enjoy.
- Change in sleep pattern. This may be sleeping too much, difficulty getting off to sleep, waking early or being unable to get back to sleep.
- Change in appetite. This may be over-eating and weight gain, or poor appetite with weight loss.
- Fatigue (tiredness) or loss of energy.
- Loss of sex drive.
- Feelings of loneliness.
- Agitation or being noticeably slowed up in movements.
- Poor concentration or indecisiveness.
- Feelings of worthlessness, or guilt.
- Recurrent thoughts of death. This is not usually a fear of death, more a preoccupation with death and dying. For some people despairing thoughts such as “life’s not worth living” or “I don’t care if I don’t wake up” are common. Sometimes these thoughts progress into thoughts and even plans for suicide.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, (CBT) typically involves encouraging you to get a more balanced view of yourself, others and the world. You can also improve your mood by gradually increasing the amount of social connection, pleasure and achievement in your day. Further techniques may include learning to meditate, relax, problem solve, time management and assertiveness. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is the treatment of choice for depression and has been shown to help a significant number of people to recover and to manage their mood.