At some point, most of us will feel sad, unhappy, fed up, or gloomy; we all know everyone has good and bad days. However depression is more than ‘just feeling sad’ or fed up. Depression leads to more intense feelings of sadness which can last for weeks, months or even years. The symptoms of depression can vary from mild to severe, at its most severe, people may feel that life is not worth living.
Depression not only affects how you feel, but also colours how you think and has an impact physically on your energy levels, sleep, appetite and concentration. Symptoms of depression include; low mood, tearfulness, lack of motivation, low self esteem, reduced concentration, decreased appetite, feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, lacking in energy, unexplained aches and pains, self neglect, low sex drive, disturbed sleep, etc. Experiencing depression can affect all areas of your life, including your social and work life, as those with depression may withdraw from others.
When depressed our thoughts are laden with negativity and self criticism. Thoughts can become ‘all or nothing’ or ‘black and white’, i.e., they are extreme or absolute, with no scope for middle ground or a balanced view, e.g., ‘I can’t do anything right’, ‘I’ll never succeed’, etc.
People with depression often report intense feelings of guilt, or of letting others down. It can be difficult to feel the normal range of emotions when depressed, which can result in feeling numb, regardless of the situation.
Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness can lead on to thoughts of suicide and self harm. If you are currently experiencing such thoughts and are in crisis, please contact your GP, A&E or the Samaritans.