What is depression?

D epression is more than a feeling of sadness. People with depression may experience a general lack of interest and pleasure in daily activities, significant weight gain or loss, insomnia or excess sleep, lack of energy, lack of concentration, feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt, and even in some occasions recurring thoughts of death or suicide.

Signs of depression

Feelings

  • Feeling sad.
  • Feelings of hopelessness, that things couldn’t get better.
  • Feeling irritable.
  • Feeling empty.
  • Feeling tired, despite sleeping.
  • Feeling restless.

Thoughts

  • Thinking that nothing makes you happy.
  • Thinking that things will not get better.
  • Thinking that problems are your fault.
  • Thinking that you are not good enough.
  • Thinking about death or ending your life.

Behaviour

  • Having difficulty thinking clearly, concentrating or making decisions.
  • Lacking interest in the things you used to like.
  • Eating much more or less than usual.
  • Having trouble falling asleep or sleeping longer than usual.
  • Experiencing aches and pains that do not seem to be justified by something else.

Why do I have depression?

D epression can occur on any occasion and it is not your fault. You are at increased risk of suffering depression when you are experiencing difficult situations. Here are some examples:

  • When you are under stress (for example, starting a new project, moving to a new city, or having problems at home or at work).
  • When you feel powerless (for example, going through a low-income period, or a family member’s illness).
  • When you are bullied or abused (for example, bullying at work or school).

Some people experience depression only at certain times of the year, it’s called “seasonal affective disorder.”

What can I do?

First step: getting people to understand what you are going through

I f you think you may be experiencing depression, think of someone to talk to. It is not always easy to acknowledge your vulnerabilities, but it is important to express your feelings: other people will not be able to help you if they do not know what you are going through.

Next steps: finding a solution

L ater it will be necessary to seek specialized help. A professional will be able to assess your case and give you the right tools in order to overcome depression. For example, talk to your family doctor for a referral to a psychologist, or look for a psychologist yourself.

Recovery

R ecovery may take some time. However, step by step, you will be able to get back to your old routines. Throughout the process, it is important to leave behind negative thoughts and guilt. Don’t blame yourself or be ashamed: 1 in 4 people have suffered from depression. It’s OK to ask for help and to take time for yourself so that you can get back on your feet.