Feeling down is a common experience for many people. It can occur at any age from childhood to old age and affects people in all walks of life. It can range from feeling “low” or “blue” for a few days to severe depression which can last for weeks and months.
When someone is suffering from depression they may feel as though life is not worth living and that they can’t cope with everyday tasks. When depression reaches this point the person may need help. If possible, find someone to talk to before the symptoms become overwhelming.
It is not a sign of weakness to admit that you need help, rather it can take courage to ask for it.
Are you experiencing some of these feelings?
• Feelings of unhappiness that don’t go away
• Loss of interest in life
• Unable to enjoy anything
• Difficulty in making decisions
• Feeling excessively tired
• Feeling physically ill, headaches or unexplained pains and stomach upsets
• Feeling restless or agitated
• Loss or change of appetite
• Difficulty in sleeping
• Waking early and can’t get back to sleep
• Losing interest in sex
• Loss of self-confidence
• Avoiding others
• Thinking of suicide
Reasons for feeling down
Usually there is more than one reason for being depressed and these differ with each person. Sometimes there is no apparent reason.
• An Event. Something may have happened to cause you to feel depressed, such as a disappointment, bereavement, a major change.
• Circumstances. If you are alone with no friends or if you have worries or are physically run down after an illness.
• Physical Illness. If you suffer a lot with pain or have an illness which goes on for a long time.
• Relationships. If you are having problems with relationships, either in your family or with a partners or other friends.
How can I get help?
There are different types of help available and these depend on how severe your symptoms are.
Talking to a Counsellor
Talking to a counsellor about your feelings may be helpful, however low you are. If your symptoms are more severe then you may not feel able to explore and confront the reasons behind it as this takes energy and motivation which you may not have at this time. You may find that you feel uncomfortable expressing how you really feel to your family or friends and it can be easier to talk to a counsellor.
If your symptoms are severe or go on for a long time you may need to see your doctor who may prescribe anti-depressants. These are not tranquillisers, although they may help you feel less anxious or agitated. They are not addictive and they can help you reach a point where you are able to talk about your problems.
What can I do for myself if I am feeling down?
• TALK Talking about how you are feeling or about the things that are worrying you is a natural part of the healing process.
• KEEP ACTIVE Find an activity you like and take some exercise. Change your usual routine.
• EAT WELL Eat a well balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. This will keep you healthy physically.
• DRINK LESS ALCOHOL Try not to drink too much alcohol; this will not help in the long term. Alcohol is a depressant and can make your low mood worse.
- Samaritans - 24 hour confidential help
- Depression Alliance (now merged with MIND)
- Students Against Depression
- Breathing Space
- Depression (Royal College of Psychiatrists)
- Depression and low mood - self help leaflet (Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust)
- Back from the Bluez - beating depression (CCI)
- I had a black dog - an animated film about depression
- Thinking about suicide
- Papyrus - prevention of young suicide
- SOBS (Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide)