Overview of Feeling Depressed


    Depression is more than just feeling down. There are many mental and emotional situations that can cause a depression that can last a while, leaving a negative impact on your daily life.

    If you are only suffering from mild depression, this can cause you to feel sad and make it seem impossible to accomplish anything. In severe cases of depression, you may feel helpless or even suicidal.

    If you’re depressed, don’t feel as if you are the only person on the earth experiencing this feeling. Three out of every 100 people in England will experience depression at any one time. Eight in 100 people will experience mixed depression along with anxiety.

    There is help for those that are in these situations. Recovery is possible, even if you have felt depressed for a while. Different treatments work differently for different people. Talk to your GP if you don’t like the treatment.

    What are the most common signs and symptoms of depression?

    Depression affects people in different ways. Depression can impact your mind, body, and behavior.

    You might feel:

    Tearful sad or upset

    You can feel guilty or you can actually believe that you are worthless

    Irritable and restless

    Numb or completely empty

    Insufficient self-confidence and self-esteem

    You are unable to enjoy anything

    Hopeless and helpless

    Worried or anxious

    suicidal thoughts that may cause you to ultimately harm yourself.

    These symptoms may include:

    Tiredness and lackluster energy

    Slower speaking or moving

    Sleep problems: Having trouble falling asleep or feeling hungry.


    Sexual problems or impotency

    Unexplained pain all over your body

    It is possible to behave differently. You may:

    Avoid other people, even close friends.

    It is difficult to function at school, work, or college

    It is difficult to make informed decisions and think at all.

    It is possible to lose focus or forget things.

    Some people may experience psychosis after a very difficult time stemming from depression. This can lead to you believing or seeing things that aren’t true, or hearing things that aren’t there.

    Different types of Depression

    Your doctor might diagnose you with having a definitive case of depression. They may say it is mild, moderate, or severe depending on the severity of your symptoms. You may also be diagnosed immediately with a particular type of depression. For example, dysthymia (depression that lasts several years despite being mild) seasonal affective disorder or SAD (a seasonal pattern of depression) Postnatal depression – this is depression that occurs after giving birth. Some people experience antenatal depression which is most common with women that are pregnant.

    What can cause depression?

    Depression is actually not that easy to diagnose. It can be caused by genetics, mental health issues, and difficult childhood experiences. Stressful life events like unemployment, being bullied, assaulted, or the end of a relationship can also contribute to depression.

    It is possible that your depression was caused by a combination of several factors.

    Support Groups

    Talking to your GP is the first step in getting support. Although many people wait a long while to see their GP, it is important that you get help as soon as possible. You may feel that depression will always be a part of your life, even if you have been feeling it for a while. But try to remain open to change. There are many solutions when it comes to getting help for this condition.

    The most common treatment for depression is a combination of taking medication and going to some type of group therapy plus self-help techniques. Your type of depression and severity will determine the best treatment.

    Self-help ideas and resources

    You may be offered self-help resources by your GP. These resources are usually available quickly and can help you feel better, without the need to look for other solutions. These include online cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) as well as self-help books. Exercise can also be helpful.

    More information on self-help is available at the NHS website, which includes links to apps, forums and books.

    Different types of talking therapies

    Talking therapies allow you to talk openly with a professional about your feelings or what is bothering you. Talking therapies are available for depression. These include cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), psychotherapy, and a wide variety of counselling options. Your doctor can help you choose the most effective one.

    If you are a resident of England, you can refer yourself to therapy.

    Talk therapy is not always readily available through the NHS. The waiting lists can be very long so make sure to ask your doctor what you can do until it is your turn to get treatment. If you are able to afford it, you may also be able to find a private therapist. See our page on talk therapies for more details.


    You can also take antidepressants as a form of treatment. They can be taken regularly as prescribed, or in conjunction with talking therapy.

    There are many different antidepressants available. Talk to your GP about which one may be best for you. You may be given another if one does not work. Usually, you will need to take the pills for one to two weeks before you begin to notice any of the potential benefits.

    How to look after yourself

    There are steps that you can take to improve your mood and get better. If you have been depressed in the recent past and wish to get well, these steps may be helpful.

    Talk about your feelings. Talking to someone you trust or seeking peer support can help you feel more at ease and less isolated.

    Take care of your health. Healthy eating habits can improve your mood and help you maintain your mental health.

    Keep active. Although exercise may seem counterintuitive to actually resolving this problem, it can help with the symptoms of depression. It may help you feel better, according to research.

    Spend some time outdoors. Research has shown that spending time in nature can increase happiness, make our lives more meaningful, and lower our depression levels quite significantly.

    Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol. Although they may seem to be helping initially, they can actually make it worse over time.

    Practice Mindfulness. Mindfulness is a technique that allows you to fully engage or what many people referred to as living in the present moment. It can reduce depression symptoms, according to studies.

    Consider Therapy. Talk therapy is a good option to help you stay healthy. If you have ever been depressed, NICE recommends CBT or mindfulness-based cognitive treatment.

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