Depression is a common experience. We have all felt
'depressed' about a friend's cold shoulder, misunderstandings
in our marriage, tussles with teenage children - sometimes we
feel 'down' for no reason at all.
However, depression can become an illness
The mood state is severe;
It lasts for 2 weeks or more; and
It interferes with our ability to function at home or at
Signs of a depressed mood include:
Lowered self-esteem (or self-worth)
Change in sleep patterns, that is, insomnia or broken sleep
Changes in appetite or weight
Less ability to control emotions such as pessimism, anger,
guilt, irritability and anxiety
Varying emotions throughout the day, for example, feeling
worse in the morning and better as the day progresses
Reduced capacity to experience pleasure: you can't enjoy
what's happening now, nor look forward to anything with
pleasure. Hobbies and interests drop off.
Reduced pain tolerance: you are less able to tolerate aches
and pains and may have a host of new ailments
Changed sex drive: absent or reduced
Poor concentration and memory: some people are so impaired
that they think that they are going demented
Reduced motivation: it doesn't seem worth the effort to do
anything, things seem meaningless
Lowered energy levels.
If you have such feelings and they persist for most of every
day for two weeks or longer, and interfere with your ability
to manage at home and at work, then you might benefit from
getting an assessment by a skilled professional.
Having one or other of these features, by themselves, is
unlikely to indicate depression, however there could be other
causes which may warrant medical assessment.
If you are feeling suicidal it is very important to seek
immediate help, preferably by a mental health practitioner.