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Depression/Feeling Sad

What is Depression? 

Depression is a complex mood disorder that causes consistent pessimistic feelings. Depression affects the state of mind and can cause severe symptoms that impact your behavior, actions, and thoughts thus leading to an overall negative effect on your daily life and can cause various emotional and physical health problems.  

Individuals with depression normally feel a loss in interest in activities they normally like to do and feel that life is meaningless. 

Depression goes beyond just prolonged sadness as it is very hard to treat depression as it affects the mind and so just normal medication will not help with getting rid of depressive moods long-term and so alongside medication, therapy is needed in order to help treat depression.

Symptoms of depression consist of:

  • Feeling prolonged sadness, misery, feeling empty

  • Being easily irritable, restlessness, or frustration

  • Feeling numb 

  • Having a loss of interest in hobbies/activities

  • Difficulty sleeping (oversleeping or having trouble sleeping at all)

  • Loss of appetite 

  • Extreme changes in weight 

  • Having less energy and feeling easily fatigued

  • Low self-esteem and confidence

  • Physical symptoms such as having headaches, body aches, digestive problems, stomach pains etc.

  • Suicidal ideation and thoughts of death

In order to be diagnosed these symptoms need to be present for two weeks to be classified as depression. 

Depression can feel immensely isolating because there is nothing physically wrong with you, thus people who present with depressive symptoms may not see it as a significant concern, and may ignore their symptoms, assuming they would go away with time.

However, ignoring these symptoms can lead to it getting worse over time, as it impacts how you act and behave, so much so that it starts to impact your choices in life and the people surrounding you. 

It can cause you to:

  • Avoid people and social situations

  • Have difficulty thinking, speaking, and making decisions 

  • Can cause self-harming tendencies

  • Rely on alcohol and drugs as a form of escapism

  • Neglect your personal hygiene 

  • Neglect the people surrounding you 

  • Isolate yourself

  • Start having difficulty concentrating on things 

  • Have a hard time remembering things

  • Feel lethargic and weak

  • Develop other mental disorders such as anxiety

What causes depression?

There are a variety of different causes to depression, it can occur due to different social, environmental, biological factors or due to these factors interacting. Depression is a very complex disorder as it does not have one main cause and it varies for different people and so treating the disorder depends on the cause and triggers of depression.

Some causes of depression are:

-life events


-childhood events/trauma

-state of mind/thought process

-side effect of taking certain medication

-due to medical history

-sleep pattern, diet, lack of exercise

-from taking harmful drugs  


What are the different types of depression?

Depression varies from person to person based on the severity of the symptoms, therefore there are multiple types of depression that arise in different circumstances.

Major depression  

This is also known as clinical depression and occurs when you are feeling depressed over a long period of time (over 2 weeks). This involves feelings of depressive moods, such as feeling very tired and low energy, and loss of interest over a long period of time which can make you unable to continue with your daily activities. 

Perinatal depression

This occurs in women during or after pregnancy. This affects women’s mood and can cause anxiety, fatigue, low energy, and changes in sleeping pattern etc. Medication or talking therapies are effective in treating this type of depression. 

Seasonal affective depression (SAD)

This is a type of depression that is seasonal and thus occurs in the winter due to the limited sunlight and shorter days in the winter. SAD usually goes away during the spring and summer season but reoccurs in the winter months. 

Psychotic depression

This type of depression is extreme and includes the common symptoms of major depression alongside extreme psychotic symptoms such as delusions/hallucinations and paranoia. 

Does depression affect some people more than others?

Yes, depending on the severity of the depression some people experience depression in different ways such as different genders, ages, and minorities. 


Children and adults may experience the symptoms of depression in different ways and may present their symptoms differently.

Younger children may be overly clingy and be more easily irritable than experiencing sad moods as they yet to fully understand their emotions. 

Adults are more likely to feel sadness than irritability and are prone to experiencing loss of memory more than children/teens. They are also less likely to seek help.


Women are more likely to experience depression than men (World Health Organisation, 2023). 1 Approximately depression is about 50% more common in women than in men. Research shows that this may be because of hormonal changes especially during a woman's menstrual cycle, childbirth, pre or post pregnancy period, which in the case of pregnancy can result in postpartum depression due to the vigorous change in hormones. 

Can you be depressed and still be highly functional?

Yes some individuals may only experience a few symptoms of depression and so an individual can appear to be functioning normally and be perfectly fine when they present themselves to others but also may be experiencing some symptoms of depression.

This normally takes place in smiling depression or atypical depression, where people around the individual do not notice their depressive patterns and/or the individual themselves do not consider themselves to be experiencing depression. 

This type of depression is in the less severe stage and so the symptoms are not as easily noticeable as severe depression.

What approaches work best with depression?

Medications such as antidepressants are ineffective long-term treatment methods for depression. Instead therapy is needed or a combination of antidepressants and psychotherapy is required to help treat depression in the long run.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

CBT is a proven effective approach to treating therapy.  This is a type of therapy that challenges negative thought patterns by teaching and reinforcing new ways of thinking and changing the cycle of harmful repetitive behavior that presents itself in depression. 

This type of therapy is based on the idea that depression stems from inaccurate beliefs about oneself and so introducing a new pattern of thinking can put an end to these distorted values. 

CBT not only changes the way you think but it also uses this new pattern of thought to target negative behavioral responses that stem from these harmful thoughts.

Thus CBT effectively challenges the client to respond to stressful scenarios. For instance, this can help clients to stop avoiding situations and people, which is considered one of the symptoms of depression.

Mindfulness based Cognitive therapy

This therapy style combines the principles of CBT and mindfulness meditation to change the clients view of themselves into a more healthier and loving one. 

This is done by using similar techniques as CBT but instead of challenging negative thoughts this approach encourages clients to recognise that their thoughts are not accurate and to accept their negative thoughts by taking a more objective perspective on the matter. This method helps the clients to feel every negative and unwanted thought/feeling but in a way that it won't lead the client into a depressive loop but instead to accept these thoughts as part of themselves without feeling self resentment.

Interpersonal therapy 

This treatment approach helps the client by identifying and treating the problems within their interpersonal relationships with family and friends. 

This stems from the idea that interpersonal conflict can result in the client developing depressive symptoms. 

This is done by exploring the different relationships the clients have with different people in their lives and examining the part they play in other people's lives and determining the important roles. This helps to resolve conflicts as it teaches the individual how to build a strong support system which is essential in treating depression.

What should I do if I’m feeling suicidal?

If you have thoughts of suicide then please remember that you are not alone and that many people have experienced what you are feeling right now and have healed from their pain. Please seek help and talk to someone you trust about how you are feeling. 

Further steps:

  • Please talk to a counselor, doctor, or a mental health helpline that can provide further aid.

  • Join a support group

Useful contacts/websites:





Shout - Text “SHOUT” to 85258 to contact the crisis text line

Childline (under 18)

Phone:  0800 111


Phone: 116 123 




Phone: 0300 304 7000


Papyrus HopelineUK

PHONE: 0800 068 41 41

TEXT 07860039967 


At what point should I seek help if I’m depressed?

If you recognise some of these symptoms in your daily life and think you have depression you can start by talking to someone you trust. If this is not possible then text a mental health crisis line or talk to a peer support group about your concerns. 

Talking to someone about your concerns can help you to feel less burdened and less alone.

The next step that needs to be taken is booking an appointment with your healthcare provider, doctor, social worker, psychologist, or any other mental health professional. This will help you get the necessary treatment for your condition. 

Outside of this treatment you can also engage in better self care to start helping yourself:

  • Try peer support groups

  • Take care of yourself by eating a better diet and exercising regularly 

  • Start journaling 

  • Keep a mood diary

  • Keep in touch with friends and family 

  • Cut down on drinking alcohol and avoid taking harmful drugs

  • Try something new 

  • Have a regular routine and stick to it.