By McDonald Mbira
By McDonald Mbira

Depression can present in many ways, and it can make you feel extremely low and sad. If you have at least four of the symptoms below (in particular 1, 2, 6 and 9) and they have persisted for several days over a period of two weeks, it is possible that you are suffering from depression.

It is always advisable to seek help from a qualified professional such as your GP or a healthcare professional.

If you feel extremely low and feel that you may be at risk of harming yourself, you can also contact the Samaritans on 116 123 (UK) or 116 123 (ROI).

  1. If you are finding it hard to enjoy, or you have no interest, in doing things that you usually enjoy doing. This can include socialising, leisure activities or hobbies. If you feel that you have no motivation in doing your normal day-to-day activities such as the washing up and your own self-care.  A general feeling of having no interest at all, and that you just cannot be bothered with anything.
  2. If you are feeling down, sad, depressed or hopeless most of the time. A feeling of doom and gloom, and that you just cannot seem to ‘see any light at the end of the tunnel.’
  3. When you find it difficult to go to sleep, or to stay asleep often waking during the night. You may also be sleeping too much, and waking up in the morning feeling like you still need more sleep, and just not feeling refreshed at all.
  4. Feeling generally tired or lethargic. You may feel like you have little or no energy at all, even though you have not done anything exerting to make you feel that way.
  5. You may have a poor appetite or be over eating. Some people will tend to eat more or ‘comfort eat’. Others may lose their appetite altogether, only eating when they really have to.
  6. Feeling bad about yourself. Believing you are a failure, that you have let yourself or your family down. This can be really difficult as some people can be very hard on themselves. They focus on what they believe are their weaknesses, rather than on their strengths. They can be extremely critical of themselves, adding further to their distressed state.
  7. You may have trouble concentrating on things, such as reading the newspaper or watching the television.
  8. Moving or speaking slowly in a way that is noticeable to others, or the complete opposite by being very fidgety or moving around a lot more than usual.
  9. Suicidal thoughts thinking that you would be better off dead, or thoughts of harming yourself in some way.