Depression is not just being sad. Depression is not being able to find pleasure or happiness in doing the things you once loved. Depression is the inability to get of bed because you are too tired (even though you've just slept for 10 hours). Depression is not being able to muster the motivation to make a simple meal, but it is also overeating until you are on the verge of throwing up. Depression is headaches, cramps, and emptiness. Depression can be fatal.
So, before updating your social media status' claiming that you are 'so depressed' because you can't quite afford to go out this weekend, your friends cancelled plans last minute or because your favourite shirt shrunk in the wash--THINK. Depression is different from a bad mood. A bad mood can last a while and at, the time, it may feel like you are depressed, but this feeling will go. If it is just a bad mood, you will wake up the next morning and get on with your day. If it's depression, you may not be too happy about the fact you even woke up at all.
According to Mentalhealth.org, almost 6,200 suicides were recorded in the UK alone (2013). Within the space of ten years (2003 - 2013), over 18,000 people committed suicide in the UK. To put that into perspective, that is the equivalent of every single student in an average sized University (such as City University of London), or every student across 15 secondary schools, taking their own life.
Looking out for the signs of depression in adults:
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
- Fatigue and decreased energy
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
- Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
- Insomnia, waking too early in the morning, or excessive sleeping
- Irritability, restlessness
- Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
- Overeating or appetite loss
- Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems
- Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings
- Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
Looking out for the signs of depression in adolescents:
- Depressed or irritable mood
- Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
- Change in grades, getting into trouble at school, or refusing to go to school
- Change in eating habits
- Feeling angry, restless or irritable
- Mood swings
- Feeling worthless
- Frequent sadness or crying
- Withdrawing from friends and activities
- Loss of energy
- Low self-esteem
- Thoughts of self-harm or suicide
A bad mood is a symptom of depression. When someone experiences a negative mood they will likely feel angry, irritable and down about a certain situation. However, being in a bad mood does not mean you are depressed. According to webmd, you need to have experienced at least 5 of the above stated symptoms for longer than 2 weeks to be diagnosed with depression. Remember you cannot diagnose it yourself as there are other conditions that may have similar symptoms, if you or someone you love is having the symptoms described above the best thing is to book an appointment with your doctor,
Depression is a serious health condition, but with people claiming to be depressed when in reality they are just slightly irritated because something did not go their way, it is making it harder for those with clinical depression to speak out. We need to understand and listen, but the fear that somebody may turn around and say 'I was depressed last night too', when they simply lost their phone charger or didn't have the money to go out, is what can make it hard. Depression is often romanticised across some social media platforms, and it can be seen to be something to label yourself as because you want to seem as if you have a 'cool edge'. The word 'depression' is flung around as if it is a normal emotion but in reality, depression takes lives. It needs to be understood in the same way a physical health problem is.