Mental Health

Depression is a common experience. We have all felt 'depressed' about a friend's cold shoulder, misunderstandings in our marriage, tussles with teenage children - sometimes we feel 'down' for no reason at all.

However, depression can become an illness when:
  • The mood state is severe
  • It lasts for 2 weeks or more and
  • It interferes with our ability to function at home or at work.
Signs of a depression include:
  • Lowered self-esteem (or self-worth)
  • Change in sleep patterns, that is, insomnia or broken sleep
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Less ability to control emotions such as pessimism, anger, guilt, irritability and anxiety
  • Varying emotions throughout the day, for example, feeling worse in the morning and better as the day progresses
  • Reduced capacity to experience pleasure: you can't enjoy what's happening now, nor look forward to anything with pleasure. Hobbies and interests drop off
  • Reduced pain tolerance: you are less able to tolerate aches and pains and may have a host of new ailments
  • Changed sex drive: absent or reduced
  • Poor concentration and memory: some people are so impaired that they think that they are becoming demented
  • Reduced motivation: it doesn't seem worth the effort to do anything, things seem meaningless
  • Lowered energy levels.

If you have such feelings and they persist for most of the day for more days than not over a two week period, and they interfere with your ability to manage at home and at work, then you might benefit from getting an assessment by a skilled professional.

Having one or other of these features, by themselves, is unlikely to indicate depression, however there could be other causes which may warrant medical assessment.

If you are feeling suicidal it is very important to seek immediate help, preferably by a mental health practitioner.

More information can be found on Black Dog Institute website