We sometimes use the word ‘depressed’ to describe feeling unhappy, but depression is different from an everyday case of the blues. When we’re depressed the feelings can last weeks and interfere with our ability to live our lives.

What causes depression?

It’s natural to go through a time of feeling low after something upsetting has happened. After the death of someone close to you or going through a big upheaval like your parents splitting up you are likely to feel sadness and grief at the change and loss. If you feel stuck in those feelings and can’t move on from them then this can be a sign you are depressed.

Depression can effect you in lots of different ways.

How you feel

You might feel overwhelming sadness, guilt, anger, hopelessness. Sometimes people describe just feeling ‘numb’.

How you think

You may be much more self-critical and blame yourself, think that you’re no good at anything, find it much harder to make decisions, and/or find it difficult to concentrate. Sometimes people have thoughts of suicide.

How you behave

You may find you don’t have the motivation to do the things you usually enjoy, you may not want to be around other people, you may cry more than usual.

Physical effects on your body

Depression can have a physical effect too, like sleeping too much or too little, having a lack of energy, over-eating or a loss in your appetite; even unexplained aches and pains can all be a sign of depression.

We all go through times when we feel low or unhappy. Sometimes we know what has made us feel that way and other times we have no idea. Having a chat to a friend or doing something fun can take your mind off things and the feeling eventually passes by itself. Remember, it’s normal to go through periods of feeling low – we can’t be happy all of the time!

If you notice that you’ve been feeling really low for weeks at a time and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better then you might want to look for some extra support to help you feel OK again.


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