It’s normal to feel down when you’re going through a stressful or difficult time, or the general ups and downs of life – we all get a ‘little-shaky’ from time-to-time. However, if you feel down for weeks on end, find yourself low on energy or motivation, or no longer enjoy doing things that used to interest you or put a spring in your step, there might be something a little more serious going on, like depression.
Depression is a word that is often used in everyday life to describe a number of feelings, including sadness, disappointment and fatigue – e.g., how often do we make a throwaway comment like “I feel so depressed”. However, depression is different from these everyday ‘low-points’ in three main ways.
“I’m down all the time. Nothing helps.”
“I don’t enjoy things the way I used to.”
“Life just feels…shit all the time”
“There’s something wrong with me. No one will want to be with me.”
“Everything is falling apart. It’s bloody hopeless.”
“Things are never going to get better.”
‘Depression’, which is often diagnosed as ‘major depressive disorder’ or ‘clinical depression’, refers to significant feelings of hopelessness, sadness or a low mood that won’t go away (2+ weeks) and start to get in the way of your everyday life – social life, school or work life (or both), home life. Depression is a condition that can only be diagnosed by a health professional.
Dr Stewart Hase: Being ‘down’ is a normal part of life and often occurs when bad things happen. There’s no need to panic when you grieve for a while after someone’s died or you feel unmotivated in a job that you hate, for example. We call this normal suffering or dealing with the normal challenges of life. Rather, depression interferes with the ability to function normally, doesn’t go away and the feeling of not being able to cope gets worse over time.
1 in 5 people will experience a mental illness each year. Many suffer in silence due to the stigma and lack of education around mental health. LIVIN is helping change this. Each flag represents where we have delivered our LIVINWell In School program. Help us fill the map and spread the word that “It ain’t weak to speak”.