We all feel sad and down from time to time but that does mean that we are depressed. However, if you feel persistently sad for weeks or maybe even months, there is a possibility that you may be suffering from depression. Sadness is not the only symptom that is associated with depression, there is a range of psychological, physical and social symptoms to be aware of too.
- Experiencing continuous low mood
- Feeling hopeless
- Feeling helpless
- Being tearful
- Feeling guilt-ridden
- Being easily irritated and feeling intolerant of others
- Having a lack of motivation and losing interest in things you may have once enjoyed
- Finding it hard to make decisions
- Feeling as though you are not getting any enjoyment out of life
- Being anxious and worried
- Feeling suicidal and/or having thoughts of harming yourself
- Moving and/or speaking more slowly than usual
- Changes in appetite (losing or gaining weight – more often losing)
- Unexplainable aches and pains
- Having a lack of energy
- Loss of libido
- Changes in your menstrual cycle (for women)
- Disturbed sleeping pattern – Sleeping too much or not enough, having trouble falling asleep, waking up very early in the morning and being unable to get back to sleep
- Avoiding social events
- Not doing well in work/school/college/university
- Avoiding contact with friends and family
- Neglecting once loved hobbies and activities
- Experiencing difficulties at home and with family life
Depression can happen to anyone, it does not target certain people however some people may have a larger risk of developing the condition if they have experienced traumatic events, family breakdown, abuse, the death of a loved one, or physical illnesses (such as heart problems or cancer). It is also believed that you may be more at risk of developing depression if a member of your immediate family (such as parents or siblings) have also suffered from depression.
It is one of the most common types of mental illness, affecting 1 in 4 people across the world. Yet it is not talked about enough. There is still some form of a stigma surrounding mental health which is stopping people from reaching out for the help that they need and deserve. Men are more likely than women to suffer from depression and are also more likely to take their own lives. Suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 50.
It is believed that many men suffer in silence as they feel it is not ‘manly’ to talk about their feelings. But opening up about having mental health problems and needing help does not make you weak, or any less of a man. Opening up takes strength and guts! You deserve to be helped, but people cannot help you if they are unaware of the problem.
Depression is not some made up issues, it is not ‘all in your head’, depression is a serious illness and in severe cases, it can be fatal.
Mild depression will have some effect on your day-to-day life, moderate depression will have a significant impact, and severe depression can make participating in day-to-day activities almost impossible… even the small things such as getting dressed, making food and looking after personal hygiene can become hard and draining for the individual to do.
Other types of depression (which we will cover in the near future) include:
- Postnatal Depression
- Bipolar Disorder
- Seasonal Affective Disorder
If you think that you might be suffering from depression, please speak to your GP and get the help that you deserve. You can also contact The Samaritans on 116123 or call NHS 111, who will be able to direct you to services that best suit your needs.