Depression is characterized by feelings like sad, hopeless, discouraged, “down in the dumps”, worthless, guilty or self-critical.

Although we all feel sad at certain times, depression is distinguished from just feeling sad by its sense of general malaise, shutting down, being demotivated or in severe situations having suicidal thoughts.

Depression is extremely common in Australia as is a tendency to be reluctant to reach out and seek help. The consequences of depression can be damaging to your health. It is important not to be afraid of reaching out.

If some of the following symptoms are familiar, you may want to speak to a trained psychotherapist about depression.

• unhappiness, moodiness and irritability
• emptiness or numbness
• losing interest and pleasure in activities that you once enjoyed
• loss of appetite and weight (or ‘comfort eating’ and putting on weight)
• using alcohol and/or drugs to make you “feel better”
• trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, or
• over-sleeping and staying in bed most of the day
• withdrawing from the world, not staying connected
• a generalized tiredness, lack of energy and motivation
• feeling worried, tense or anxious
• crying a lot, feeling agitated
• feeling bad, worthless or guilty, being self-critical and self-blaming
• having desperate thoughts, including thoughts of death or suicide.