What is depression?
While we all feel sad, moody or low from time to time, some people experience these feelings intensely, for long periods of time (weeks, months or even years) and sometimes without any apparent reason. Depression is more than just a low mood – it’s a serious condition that has an impact on both physical and mental health.
On average, one in six people – one in five women and one in eight men – will experience depression at some stage of their lives. Depression is treatable and effective treatments are available. Over 1 million adults in Australia experience depression every year.
“I couldn’t eat, sleep or think straight. As time went on, I was waking up earlier and earlier, sometimes not sleeping at all. Half of my dinner would end up in the bin. Everything became so disorganised at home. I thought everyone was against me, so I couldn’t talk to anyone about what was happening or how I was feeling.”
– Nerida, 51
How do you know if someone has depression?
Depression affects how people feel about themselves. They may lose interest in work, hobbies and doing things they normally enjoy. They may lack energy, have difficulty sleeping or sleep more than usual. Some people feel irritable, and some find it hard to concentrate. Depression makes it more difficult to manage from day to day. A person may be depressed if, for more than two weeks, he or she has felt sad, down or miserable most of the time or has lost interest or pleasure in most of his or her usual activities, and has also experienced several of the signs and symptoms across at least three of the categories in the list below. It’s important to note, everyone
experiences some of these symptoms from time to time – it may not necessarily mean a person is depressed.
Equally, not every person who is experiencing depression will have all of these symptoms.
“I felt empty… like the life was just being drained from me. I felt isolated, inadequate and generally upset all the time – like nobody understood me and I was trapped on the other side of an invisible wall.”
– Bradley, 18
Common symptoms of depression
• not going out anymore
• not getting things done at work/school
• withdrawing from close family and friends
• relying on alcohol and sedatives
• not doing usual enjoyable activities
• unable to concentrate
• lacking in confidence
• “I’m a failure.”
• “It’s my fault.”
• “Nothing good ever happens to me.”
• “I’m worthless.”
• “Life’s not worth living.”
• “ People would be better off without me.”
• tired all the time
• sick and run down
• headaches and muscle pains
• churning gut
• sleep problems
• loss or change of appetite
• significant weight loss or gain
This partial guide forms part of our extensive Wellbeing section to which you receive free access as a member of the Wentworth Advantage Help Desk Service.
To access the full article visit www.beyondblue.org.au/depression
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This document does not constitute human resource or legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. It is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on matters of interest and it is not intended to be comprehensive. You should contact the HR Help Desk or seek professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content. © Wentworth Advantage Pty Ltd 2017