Thursday 22 October 2015

What is Depression (really)?

“Oh my God *insert first world problem* I’m so depressed!”
‘Depression’ is a bit of a media-buzz word at the moment, which on the one hand is great. This means: increased coverage, more investment in services and a greater understanding amongst the masses…right?

In today’s post, I am going to talk about what, in the simplest terms, depression actually is and why you shouldn’t be so frivolous with The D Word.

Most importantly, depression is an illness. It works in exactly the same, cruel, way as any other illness. It does not matter to cancer, crohn’s or arthritis how rich, popular or pretty you are. Depression is the same. Really.

So, what does depression actually look like? How do I know if I have it? Here’s a list of the most common symptoms of depression. It’s obviously worth noting that this is not an exclusive list:
  • Tiredness and loss of energy
  • Persistent sadness
  • Loss of confidence and self-esteem
  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
  • Avoiding others and becoming isolated and lonely
  • Not being able to enjoy things that are usually pleasurable or interesting
  • Undue feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
  • Sleeping problems - difficulties in getting off to sleep, waking much earlier than usual or, oversleeping
  • Finding it hard to function at work/college/school
  • Change in appetite
  • Loss of sex drive and/ or sexual problems
  • Physical aches and pains
  • Thinking about suicide and death
  • Self-harm
If you have noticed that you’re experiencing 4 or more of the above, for the majority of the day, almost every day, for at least 2 weeks, it might be time to consider talking to somebody and booking an appointment with your GP.
This is not to say that if you are not experiencing the above symptoms, or are simply in a bad place at the moment that you shouldn't talk to somebody about it. You absolutely should and I urge you to do so. What this does mean, is that depression is very real and very common. In fact 1 in 5 of us will experience a mental health problem this year; depression and anxiety are the most common. So maybe next time you’re complaining about your iPhone battery only lasting half a day, choose another adjective because crucially, depression is an illness, not an emotion. 


  1. This is great Della! I'd also recommend this very funny, accessible and informative cartoon on what depression can be like:

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