This week is depression awareness week. And believe me, we all need to be more aware of the prevalence, treatability and support available for those of us who suffer with depression.
Here is some information about how depression can display itself:
You feel miserable and sad.
You feel exhausted a lot of the time with no energy.
You feel as if even the smallest tasks are sometimes impossible.
You seldom enjoy the things that you used to enjoy - you may be off sex or food or may 'comfort eat' to excess.
You feel very anxious sometimes.
You don't want to see people or are scared to be left alone. Social activity may feel hard or impossible.
You find it difficult to think clearly.
You feel like a failure and/or feel guilty a lot of the time.
You feel a burden to others.
You sometimes feel that life isn't worth living.
You can see no future. There is a loss of hope. You feel all you've ever done is make mistakes and that's all that you ever will do.
You feel irritable or angry more than usual.
You feel you have no confidence.
You spend a lot of time thinking about what has gone wrong, what will go wrong or what is wrong about yourself as a person. You may also feel guilty sometimes about being critical of others (or even thinking critically about them).
You feel that life is unfair.
You have difficulty sleeping or wake up very early in the morning and can't sleep again. You seem to dream all night long and sometimes have disturbing dreams.
You feel that life has/is 'passing you by.'
You may have physical aches and pains which appear to have no physical cause, such as back pain.
It's this wealth of depression symptoms, and the broad scope that confuses many people as to what depression actually is. Explanations rarely cover all the symptoms, and everybody's experience is different.
If you are reading this and hearing some alarm bells then please don't panic. Many of these are signs of tiredness. But if you keep wondering if you're depressed then please go and see your doctor, they know what they're looking for and they are a source of support and help; believe me, I've been there.