Depression

Depression involves persistent feelings of sadness for weeks or months, rather than just a few days. Depression is not a sign of weakness or something you can "snap out of" by "pulling yourself together", however, with treatment and support, full recovery is quite possible. Psychologists make distinctions about its intensity and impact:  mild depression has some impact on daily life; moderate depression has a significant impact on daily life, while severe depression makes it almost impossible to get through daily life.

Symptoms

Symptoms of depression are varied, but can include: 

  • continuous low mood or sadness; 
  • feeling hopeless and helpless 
  • being tearful; 
  • feeling guilt-ridden, irritable and/or intolerant of others  
  • limited motivation and energy, even for everyday tasks; moving more slowly than usual 
  • taking part in fewer social activities and avoiding contact with friends; limited interest or enjoyment for hobbies 
  • appetite problems which can include loss of appetite, or over-eating in an attempt to counteract negative feelings 
  • sleep disruption and disturbed sleep patterns, including difficulties getting off to sleep or early morning waking
  • difficulties concentrating, and short-term memory problems

Treatment towards Better

Depression is highly treatable with cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), sometimes alongside antidepressant medicines. Also, many people with depression can benefit by making lifestyle changes themselves, such as getting more exercise, cutting down on alcohol, stopping smoking and eating more healthily.  Self-care and compassion are also vital because symptoms can improve when we look after ourselves, and treat ourselves with kindness, care and respect (see tab on DAKtivism).