What is depression?

You may be uncertain whether or not you are depressed. Many people feel down occasionally, or go through bad patches, but have areas in their lives that make them feel good, and like things about themselves. For some people though, life is more of a struggle. They feel bad about themselves and their lives in most ways. At times they feel complete despair. If you feel like this, then you could be depressed.

The distinction between feeling 'down' and being depressed is one of both degree and duration: low mood becomes problematic when it is frequent, persistent and begins to affect your work, relationships, social activities and self-esteem.

Depression includes a persistent low mood and loss of interest or pleasure in life. Even so, depression spans a spectrum, ranging from an ability to struggle on leading a more or less normal life, to a situation that may be life-threatening and you may feel suicidal.

Depression is very common. It affects people of all ages and backgrounds and is one of the most frequent reasons for people seeking help from counsellors.

The Service run a variety of groups and workshops, as well as Talk and Plan (TAP) sessions, some of which are specifically designed to address depression.

Some symptoms of depression

  • Disliking yourself or people in general
  • Seeing the future as bleak or hopeless
  • Finding everything pointless
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Eating too little or too much
  • Inability to stop crying or to release tears
  • Depending on alcohol or other drugs
  • Cutting yourself off from other people
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Thinking about suicide

External resources

For more information and advice, you could visit the following websites: