What Is Depression?

Gray kitten sitting in a woven basket, looking sad
THE PUBERTY PORTAL: My feelings are a mystery to me
What is Depression?

A guide to the common signs of depression and what to do if you are grappling with it:

With depression, feelings of lingering sadness or emptiness are compounded by physical symptoms. This can go in a downward direction - like low energy, low appetite, or low motivation - or depression can manifest as doing more of something, too, like over-spending or over-eating. Unlike sadness, which is a feeling that resolves over time, depression will generally hang around until you get help from a professional. Some signs of depression include: 

  • Unending feelings of sadness
  • Feelings of deep, unwarranted guilt or worthlessness
  • Loss of interest and enthusiasm for things which used to provide pleasure
  • Irritability or inexplicable moodiness
  • Fatigue, which may manifest as low energy all day
  • Changes in sleep patterns - sometimes excessive sleeping, sometimes trouble falling asleep or staying asleep every night
  • Changes in eating patterns - this can mean loss of appetite or excessive eating, not just for a day but for several days or even weeks
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Other physical symptoms, such as headaches or body aches, that don’t have a specific cause
  • Constant thoughts about death
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions

If you think you might be depressed - or even if you’re feeling sad for a long stretch and the feeling doesn’t seem to be going away - it’s important to reach out to a trusted resource for help. This should almost always be an adult, someone who has the resources, life experience, and capacity to help you - maybe a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle, school nurse, coach, teacher or a mental health professional: school psychologist, guidance counselor, pediatrician. A best friend is invaluable, but if you are worried about depression, turn to an adult. This adult can help you figure out if and when you need the help of a mental health professional. Most importantly, remember there’s no shame in being depressed.

Click here to read about who are our trusted adults
Click here for article: Am I sad or Depressed? What’s the Difference?
Click here for more on sadness

Photo by Vladim B

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