Depression is experiencing low spirits that lasts for a long time, and affects everyday life.
In its mildest form, depression can mean just having low mood . It doesn’t stop you leading your normal life but makes everything harder to do and there is no joy in life. At its most severe, depression can be life-threatening because it can make the patient feel suicidal.
It is characterised by low self-esteem, loss of interest in normally enjoyable activities, low energy, and pain without a clear cause.
These are some types of depression:
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) – depression that occurs at a particular time of year, or during a particular season.
Dysthymia – continuous mild depression that lasts for two years or more. Also called persistent depressive disorder or chronic depression.
Prenatal depression – depression that occurs during pregnancy. This is sometimes also called antenatal depression.
Postnatal depression (PND) – depression that occurs in the first year after giving birth.
On my first admission almost 13 years ago after being in hospital for almost a year, I experienced the symptoms of depression when I felt low and unmotivated. There was no pleasure in life although I read a lot of books to pass the time. I would sometimes feel like there was no point living.
The locked ward environment didn’t help either. At the time my hygiene standards slipped and I preferred my own company and would stay in my room a lot and wouldn’t interact with other patients in the lounge. Thankfully my family visited me regularly and would bring delicious home food for me.
Depression is a recognised mental illness so it is wrong to suggest to sufferers to ‘get over it’ or ‘pull your socks up’. Also, it is not something that happens to ‘weak’ people as many strong people also suffer with it, for example, two-time world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury experiences depression.
Everyone has times when their mood is low, creating sadness and negativity about life. Usually these feelings pass after a short while.
However if the feelings are interfering with one’s life and don’t go away after a couple of weeks, or if they come back over and over again for a few days at a time, it could be a sign of depression.
Read more about depression: