What is depression?

What is depression?

There are times when we all feel sad, hopeless or fed up; it’s part of life. Depression is different. With depression these feelings don’t just go away. They can last for months, becoming so intense that carrying on with everyday life can become impossible.

Depression can be hard to spot. There are many different symptoms, some emotional and some physical. These are some of the most common, so if you've experienced four or more for most of the day, nearly every day for over two weeks, it might be time to talk to someone and visit your GP for help.


  • Tiredness and loss of energy
  • Persistent sadness
  • Loss of confidence and self-esteem
  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
  • Avoiding others and becoming isolated and lonely
  • Not being able to enjoy things that are usually pleasurable or interesting
  • Undue feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
  • Sleeping problems - difficulties in getting off to sleep or waking much earlier than usual
  • Finding it hard to function at work/college/school
  • Change in appetite
  • Loss of sex drive and/ or sexual problems
  • Physical aches and pains
  • Thinking about suicide and death
  • Self-harm

It’s easy to blame ourselves, but depression can affect anyone. You might feel guilty or frustrated that you can’t find the motivation to keep up with things, and it can be especially hard to spot the symptoms if you’ve been feeling the same way for a long time. Many people find they also experience anxiety alongside their symptoms, so nausea, breathlessness and headaches are all signs that it might be time to get help.

Depression is common, and in its mildest form most people can lead a healthy and active life with the right treatment and support. On the more severe end, depression can be devastating and even life-threatening, so don’t go through it alone. Spotting the signs and getting help early can be vital, so talk to someone about it and visit your GP for help.