Mind defines depression as ‘Depression is a low mood that lasts for a long time, and affects your everyday life.’
Most people go through periods of feeling down from time to time, however, when you’re depressed you persistently feel sad for more than just a few days. It is a low mood that impacts your daily life.
In its mildest form, depression can mean just feeling low in spirits and glum. It doesn’t completely stop your everyday activities, but makes everything feel harder to do and seem less worthwhile. In its most severe state, depression can be life-threatening, because it can make you feel suicidal.
If you are given a diagnosis of depression, you might be told that you have either mild, moderate or severe depression. This indicated the level of your depression and the impact that it is currently having on you. The diagnosis of the severity of depression also helps to determine your treatment options. Depression severity can change and this could be during one episode of depression or across several episodes.
MIND also highlights that there are also some specific types of depression:
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) – depression that occurs at a particular time of year, or during a particular season. See our page on SAD for more information.
- Dysthymia – continuous mild depression that lasts for two years or more. Also called persistent depressive disorder or chronic depression.
- Prenatal depression – depression that occurs during pregnancy. This is sometimes also called antenatal depression.
- Postnatal depression (PND) – depression that occurs in the first year after giving birth.
We are all different, but the Signs and symptoms of depression tend to make you feel any of the following:
- Upset and emotional
- restless, agitated or irritable
- guilty, worthless and down on yourself
- empty and numb
- isolated and unable to relate to other people
- finding no pleasure in life or things you usually enjoy
- a sense of unreality
- no self-confidence or self-esteem
- hopeless and despairing
Having any of the feelings listed above, very understandably make you not want to be very sociable. You may:
- want to avoid social events and activities you usually enjoy
- self-harm or have feelings of suicidal behaviour
- experience difficulty speaking, thinking clearly or making decisions
- lose interest in sex
- have difficulty remembering or concentrating on things
- be using more tobacco, alcohol or other drugs than usual
- experience difficulty sleeping, or sleeping too much and falling asleep
- feel tired all the time
- have no appetite and losing weight, or eating too much and gaining weight
- have physical aches and pains with no obvious physical cause
- notice that you are moving very slowly, or being restless and agitated.
If you are feeling any of these symptoms, please be aware that there is a lot of support available. These are not feelings that you have to feel on your own and actions can be taken to address and improve how you are feeling.
Speak to you family, friends, GP or a therapist. There are lots of people around to help.
Further information about depression can be found on the Mind website: https://www.mind.org.