Depression has become a huge issue in the UK. In fact, along with mixed anxiety, it’s the most common mental disorder in Britain. It’s therefore hardly surprising that in recent years, a huge amount of time, effort and funding has gone into raising awareness about it and making people more aware of the symptoms.
Despite this, it can still be difficult to tell the difference between general sadness and depression which can create huge problems. Some people think they’re just a bit down in the dumps and end up neglecting a serious condition that requires medical attention whereas others are seeking treatment for what is actually a normal emotional state.
We’ve all felt sad or down in the past and we most definitely will experience this again probably many times in our life. It’s usually triggered by a difficult, hurtful, challenging or disappointing event, experience or situation. This is a normal human emotion that is simply a reaction to something.
This means that when our emotional hurt fades, when we’ve adjusted to the loss or disappointment or something positive happens, our sadness leaves us and we resume normal, everyday life as we did before the event.
Depression is far more serious because it’s all-consuming. It’s a mental illness that affects our thinking, emotions, perceptions and behaviours. When we’re depressed, we feel sad about everything, not just about a particular situation and it isn’t necessarily triggered by anything in particular.
What makes depression even harder to identify is that often sufferers realise that on paper their lives are absolutely fine, yet they still feel terrible.
If you are feeling particularly overwhelmed at work at the moment, you may feel a sense of sadness or dread going into the office. Once you’re there however you may perk up or at the end of the day feel excited about going home.
Depression is far more severed because it makes everything less enjoyable, less interesting, less important and less worthwhile. It saps all of our energy, motivation and our ability to experience joy, pleasure, excitement, satisfaction and meaning.
If you think that you or someone you know could be suffering from depression, please feel free to visit our Depression and Anxiety Treatment Programmes page for more information about the signs, symptoms and treatments that are available.