Depression is difficult to pin down; some days you feel awful, some days you feel OK.
Here’s a letter from Tracey:
Sorry, I imagine this question is asked a lot... But how do I know if I'm depressed? I'm sad all the time, I feel completely alone, I don't sleep, I comfort eat, I have nightmares every night... I get stressed easily, I can't concentrate on work, but I am terrified of failure. (And my definition of failure is very broad.) I feel like my future is bound to be depressing. I know, it sounds like a textbook case. The thing is, I have REASONS for all these things, and so I'm not sure if it counts as depression.
That is, I feel alone, because I'm estranged from my family, and I'm not in a relationship. I feel like my future is hopeless because I have my heart set on a very difficult career path, that, objectively, I'm probably not intelligent enough for. This is also why I fear failure, and why I'm stressed. I lack energy, and concentration because I have severe, chronic anemia, and forget to take my iron tablets... The rest of my problems are probably all due to this stress... So does it count? Also, doesn't everyone feel like that sometimes? I feel like it almost all the time, but I still do have good, happy days. If I can be cheered up by a good day, does it count as depression?
Do you feel like this generally down but sometimes OK? Feeling OK is relative and for some people what feels good doesn’t feel good to others.
The symptoms of depression can be complex. If you are depressed, you often lose interest in things you used to enjoy. Depression commonly interferes with your work, social life and family life. There are many other symptoms, which can be psychological, physical and social. Here are the most common symptoms according to NHS guidelines.
It can take some time to recognise that you may be depressed. Depression may come on gradually and some people continue to deal with the symptoms without recognising them. It can take a friend or family member to suggest that something is wrong.
Doctors describe depression by how serious it is
Our best advice is that if you feel your moods are holding you back to the point that your life has stopped giving you pleasure then you are probably depressed. But you are the only person who can gauge how depression is affecting you. Why not assess your symptoms and severity of your depression with our online questionnaire.
If you feel you are suffering with depression,