Depression is a very common problem characterised by a pervasive feeling that you are unable to cope with life. It is an illness, not a sign of weakness.

It is not the same as feeling fed up or unhappy. You may feel low at times due to life stresses, such as bereavement, money worries or difficulties in relationships. This is normal and not necessarily a sign of depression. People experiencing depression cannot just ‘snap out of it’ and often report that they cannot identify any particular event as a cause.

What are the symptoms?

If you are depressed you may experience: 

  • feeling sad, guilty, upset, numb or despairing
  • losing interest and/or enjoyment in things
  • crying a lot or being unable to cry when a truly sad event occurs
  • feeling alone even if you are in company
  • feeling angry or irritable about the slightest thing

You may also experience physical symptoms such as: 

  • tiredness, lack of energy
  • restlessness and sleep problems
  • feeling generally unmotivated
  • difficulties with memory and concentration 

You may find yourself thinking that you can’t cope, or aren’t as accomplished as your friends or colleagues.

You may start to withdraw from activities you used to enjoy. 

What can I do to help myself?

There are lots of things you can do to help yourself and we know that increased activity is very helpful in overcoming depression. Check out our tips for wellbeing and try these suggestions from the NHS Northumberland Leaflet on Depression and Low Mood:

  • list things to do
  • mix with people
  • join in activities
  • take exercise
  • do things you enjoy