depression & Low mood
We all have periods when our mood is low, and we’re feeling sad or unhappy about life. These feelings usually pass over time and we get back to being ourselves.
Depression is a low mood that lasts for a long time, and affects your daily life. The feeling of depression is deeper, longer lasting and more unpleasant than the short periods of unhappiness that everyone experiences occasionally.
Anyone can get low, but someone is said to be suffering from depression (or depressed) when these feelings don’t go away quickly or become so bad they interfere with their everyday life.
Some people describe feeling or depression as ‘being under a dark cloud’ or ‘feeling like drowning – no matter how hard you try to fight back’
Milder forms of depression can mean just being in low spirits. It may not prevent you leading your normal life but it can make everything seem harder to do and feel less worthwhile.
At its most severe, however, depression can make your life very difficult to manage. It can affect the relationships you have with family and friends. It may interfere you’re your school and your social life. And for some people it can be so bad that they lose the will to do anything.
Depression is actually very common, with one in five people become depressed at some point in their lives. Most people manage to pull through their depression with support from therapists, and in more serious cases, medication may be prescribed to help cope with the symptoms.
Symptoms of a general low mood may include feeling:
anxious or panicky
more tired than usual or being unable to sleep
angry or frustrated
low on confidence or self-esteem
A low mood often gets better after a few days or weeks.
It’s usually possible to improve a low mood by making small changes in your life. For example, resolving something that’s bothering you or getting more sleep.
try talking about your feelings to a friend, family member, health professional or counsellor. You could also contact Samaritans, call 116 123 or email email@example.com if you need someone to talk to
try the 6 ways to feel happier, which are simple lifestyle changes to help you feel more in control and able to cope
find out how to raise your self-esteem
consider peer support, where people use their experiences to help each other. Find out more about peer support on the Mind website
try mindfulness, where you focus on the present moment
listen to free mental wellbeing audio guides
do not try to do everything at once; set small targets that you can easily achieve
do not focus on the things you cannot change – focus your time and energy into helping yourself feel better
try not to tell yourself that you’re alone – most people feel low sometimes and support is available
try not to use alcohol, cigarettes, gambling or drugs to relieve a low mood. These can all contribute to poor mental health