What is depression?
People sometimes say they're feeling depressed when they're having a bad day. But depression is a mental health issue that can have a big effect on your life. It’s a bit like a physical illness, because people don’t choose to have depression.
Depression or feeling low happens to lots of people. Anyone can suffer from depression and it affects people in different ways. A doctor can help you to find out more about depression and how to start feeling better.
When you're depressed it can seem like people around you don’t understand how you're feeling and you might feel alone, but talking to someone can really help you to feel better. And remember our counsellors are always here to listen and support you.
Why do people feel SAD OR depressed?
Depression can happen because of lots of different things, such as:
- sexual abuse
- assault or physical abuse
- the death of someone you love
- drug problems
- exam stress
- worries about sexuality.
Sometimes there's no obvious reason for feeling depressed. And going through anything mentioned in the list above doesn’t mean you’ll definitely develop depression.
You can talk to us about anything
It can seem like the hardest thing to do, but talking to someone about how you feel means you're starting to deal with your feelings.
If you keep your feelings to yourself, you can start to feel lonely and like you have to cope with everything on your own. Remember that you can always speak to a counsellor for free on 0800 1111 or on a 1-2-1 counsellor chat.
It could also be really helpful to talk to a friend, relative, teacher, parent or carer.
How depression can affect you
Depression affects people in different ways. It can make it hard to concentrate and lead to you feeling negative about everything and like you'll never feel okay again.
Feeling depressed can be really hard to deal with. Some people start to self-harm by hurting themselves, taking drugs, drinking a lot of alcohol or deliberately putting themselves in risky situations. It's really important to get help if you're doing this.
It's common for many young people to have problems with food at some time in their lives. When some people become depressed they might find they also start to have problems with eating. They might try to starve themselves, overeat, vomit or use laxatives to lose weight after overeating. If you're worried about anything to do with eating, you can get help on our pages about eating problems.
Some people who experience really serious depression might feel so bad about themselves and their life that they think that the only way out is to kill themselves. If you're having suicidal thoughts or feelings or are worried about one of your friends, you're not alone and there's help for you. Please call a Childline counsellor for free on 0800 1111 or talk to someone you trust about it.
Signs and symptoms of depression
Many signs or symptoms of depression are just the same as when you feel down or sad. If you keep having these symptoms for a long time, or they get worse, then it might be time to talk to someone and tell them how you feel.
Things that may mean you have depression are:
- feeling sad or anxious most of the time
- not enjoying things that you used to enjoy
- tiredness or low energy, even when you have rested
- not eating much or overeating
- problems sleeping
- feelings of worthlessness
- feelings of guilt
- mood swings
- aches or pains that have no obvious cause
- not wanting to see people or go out.
finding ways to deal with things