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Depression

Introduction

We all feel fed up, miserable or sad at times. These feelings don’t usually last longer than a week or two, and they don’t interfere too much with our lives. Sometimes there’s a reason, sometimes not. We usually cope – we may talk to a friend but don’t otherwise need any help.

However, in depression:

  • your feelings don’t lift after a few days – they carry on for weeks or months
  • are so bad that they interfere with your life.

What does it feel like?

Most people with depression will not have all the symptoms listed below, but most will have at least five or six.

Do you:

  • Feel unhappy most of the time (but may feel a little better in the evenings)
  • Lose interest in life and can’t enjoy anything
  • Find it harder to make decisions
  • Can’t cope with things that you used to
  • Feel utterly tired
  • Feel restless and agitated
  • Lose appetite and weight (some people find they do the reverse and put on weight)
  • Take 1-2 hours to get off to sleep, and then wake up earlier than usual
  • Lose interest in sex
  • Lose your self-confidence
  • Feel useless, inadequate and hopeless
  • Avoid other people
  • Feel irritable
  • Feel worse at a particular time each day, usually in the morning
  • Think of suicide.

 

You may not realise how depressed you are for a while, especially if it has come on gradually. You try to struggle on and may even start to blame yourself for being lazy or lacking willpower. It sometimes takes a friend or a partner to persuade you that there really is a problem which can be helped.

You may start to notice pains, constant headaches or sleeplessness. Physical symptoms like this can be the first sign of depression.

Why does it happen?

As with our everyday feelings of low mood, there will sometimes be an obvious reason for becoming depressed, sometimes not. It can be a disappointment, a frustration, or that you have lost something – or someone – important to you. There is often more than one reason, and these will be different for different people.


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