Depression can be thought of as a scale, manifesting itself in a range of symptoms, severity, frequency and duration. From feeling down to clinical depression, it can affect your life in many ways. Symptoms include:
They may also say that they feel “empty” or unable to feel joy or happiness. Some people may describe this sadness as despair.
Depression can make people feel hopeless, as though there is no foreseeable end to how they are feeling.
A person may also feel helpless. They may say or think that no one can help them get better and that they will always feel depressed.
A person who has depression may feel that they are worthless or have no meaning in their life.
They may believe that they are a burden to others or that the world or their family is better off without them.
Guilt is a normal reaction after a person says or does something that they regret, but people with depression may have ongoing feelings of guilt that are inappropriate or disproportionate to their situation.
They may focus a lot of energy on this guilt and feel bad about themselves and things that they have said or done — even events that have long since passed.
Some people with depression lose interest in things that they used to enjoy, such as sports, going out with friends, music, or sexual activity. They may turn down offers or opportunities to do activities or be with others.
A person with depression may seem to be angry with others. They may become easily annoyed and irritated. Statistics show that men are more likely than women to experience irritability and anger as symptoms of depression. Irritability also has links with other symptoms of depression. For example, if a person is not sleeping well and feels tired, they may be more prone to irritability.
Some people with depression may find it difficult to get up in the morning because they feel exhausted and run down. They may feel too fatigued to do everyday tasks, such as going to work or cooking meals. They may spend a lot of time at home resting or sleeping.
Sometimes, a person with depression may be unable to sleep well, potentially having trouble either falling or staying asleep. They may stay up very late at night or wake up very early in the morning.
Depression can interfere with a person’s cognitive abilities. They may have trouble focusing or concentrating on personal or professional matters. They may also struggle to make decisions, including small, everyday choices. Depression can also affect memory and the ability to remember simple things. They may forget appointments or commitments and might not recall things that they said or did recently.
People with depression may lose their desire and appetite for food, which can cause weight loss. They may have little interest in eating and go for long periods without food.
Some people may eat more when they are depressed. Food can become a comfort mechanism for negative feelings or a way to deal with boredom or being alone.
Depression can make it difficult for people to feel motivated to get outside or exercise. Combined with an increase in food intake, this can lead to weight gain.
A person with depression may experience persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment. These include headaches, digestive disorders and unexplained aches and pains.
A person with depression may think more about death and dying. They may also think about suicide and how they could end their life. These thoughts are called suicide ideation. Sometimes, a person may tell others about these thoughts. If someone is talking about death or suicide, this may be their way of asking for help, and it is vital to seek assistance. In some cases, a person may hurt themselves, or self-harm.