Sadness is something that we all experience from time to time. For some of us, this feeling is temporary and goes away on its own, however, for others, this persistent feeling of emptiness, unhappiness and hopelessness becomes a regular part of their day.

If your mood has changed over the last few weeks and engaging in normal routine daily tasks is becoming more difficult, you may have depression, and you are not alone. Depression is a mood disorder that can cause mild to severe symptoms, and can affect how you feel, think and manage daily activities.

What Depression May Feel Like
Many people believe that depression needs to be debilitating and cause significant problems in their life in order to seek help. What they don’t realise is that some of the more subtle signs of this disorder are often the first indication that something is going on, such as:

Depression feels like there is no pleasure or joy in life. Concentration and focus become much more difficult, which makes any kind of decision-making challenging.

Sometimes people describe this as being in a fog as they are unable to think clearly or follow what is happening around them.

For many with depression, it feels like there is no way out. Everything feels hopeless like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. This can lead to a feeling of failure and worthlessness.

Depression also has a significant impact on sleep. This often manifests as trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, frequent nighttime awakening, or feeling tired upon waking despite getting an adequate number of hours of sleep.

Sometimes depression can be physically painful. It is not unusual for people with depression to feel body aches, headaches, muscle tension and even nausea.

Different Types of Depression

Since depression is such a complex disorder, it can be difficult to define and diagnose with just one set of generalized criteria. Because of this, other categories define different types of depression. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the two most common forms of depression are major or clinical depression and persistent depressive disorder.

Major depression is the most commonly diagnosed form of depression characterized as having symptoms of depression most of the day, nearly every day for at least two weeks that interferes with your ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy life.

Persistent depressive disorder dysthymia is diagnosed after a person has symptoms of depression that last for at least two years.

Other forms of depression include:
• Perinatal or prepartum depression, which occurs during pregnancy.
• Postpartum depression, which after pregnancy and childbirth.
• Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which features depressive episodes that come and go with the seasons.
• Psychotic depression, which co-occurs with one other form of psychosis.
• Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PDD), which is a severe extension of premenstrual syndrome.
• Common Signs and Symptoms of Depression
Depressive symptoms can range from mild to severe and include:
• Sadness
• Loss of interest or pleasure in actives you used to enjoy
• Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, and pessimism (expecting only bad things to occur)
• Irritability
• Difficulty sleeping
• Changes in appetite
• Lack of energy
• Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
• Increase in aches and pains, headaches, digestive problems
• Lack of self-care (not bathing, grooming, etc)
• Withdraw from social activities
• Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
If you are experiencing these symptoms, please reach out to one of our Counsellors or speak to your GP as soon as possible.