Have you heard yourself saying ‘I feel really stressed and depressed’?  I am sure you have said it to yourself at some point in your life.

Depression can be a serious illness, it is more than just feeling fed up or weepy for a few days.  These feelings do not usually last longer than a week or two, and don’t really get in the road too much with our daily life and we can usually cope with them ourselves.

Depression is when you experience feeling extremely sad to a point it starts to interfere with your day to day life.  Depression can last for weeks, months and in some cases years.  Depression is much more powerful and unpleasant than a short spell of feeling unhappy.

People with a family history of depression are more likely to experience depression themselves.  Depression affects people in many different ways and can cause a wide variety of physical, psychological (mental) and social symptoms.

Depression is a common illness and like most other illnesses, it CAN be treated successfully.

What does it feel like to be depressed?

You may not realise just how depressed you are, simply because it has come upon you so slowly.  It may be that you have noticed your managing as well but have been determined to just struggle on and tell yourself your just being lazy or your just feeling a bit tired.

Or you may realised that you have been feeling really depressed over the last few weeks or months and have tried to cope by keeping busy.  This can make you even more stressed and exhausted.  Sometimes physical symptoms such as constant headaches, sleeplessness and physical pains can be the first sign of depression.

Below are some of the symptoms you may experience if you are depressed.  Most people will have at least five or six of these.  You:

  • Feel unhappy most of the time (but may feel a little better in the evenings)
  • Lose of interest in life and cannot enjoy anything
  • Find it harder to make decisions
  • Feel really tired
  • Cannot cope with the things you used to
  • Feel restless and agitated
  • Take 1-2 hours to get off to sleep, and then wake up earlier than usual
  • Feel irritable
  • Lose appetite and weight (some people find they do the reverse and put on weight)
  • Lose interest in sex
  • Lose your self-confidence
  • Feel useless, inadequate and hopeless
  • Think of suicide
  • Feel worse at a particular time each day, usually the morning.

The first step for you is to visit your doctor, be honest, tell your doctor how you are feeling.  You may find it easier to write down how your feeling and thinking, how your daily life has changed and give this to your doctor.  Your doctor will probably want to ask you some questions and may prescribe a course of antidepressants.  This might be all you need to help you recover, although a lot will depend on the severity of your depression.

Before you continue to read the following sections, here are some MYTHS and MISUNDERSTANDINGS about Depression:

  • Depression is just a form of weakness and I should just pull myself together – THINK AGAIN – depression is an illness, just like any other illness
  • I feel so alone, men don’t get depressed.  THINK AGAIN -  Men can get depressed but may find it difficult to talk about their feelings
  • How can she/he be depressed they have everything, no money worries, great job, great family, they have everything.  THINK AGAIN – Being well-off will not protect you depression.  Depression is an illness that affects people of all ages, from all walks of life
  • Depression, it’s not a real illness, s/he is perfectly able and fit to work, clean the house, look after the children and themselves.  THINK AGAIN – Depression is as much an illness as any other illness, such as heart conditions, disabling physical conditions