Depression is a serious illness and even more so by the fact that many sufferers do not recognise the symptoms, either assuming that any feelings of sadness will pass or masking any problems with overwork or stimulants such as alcohol or drugs. It is often described as prolonged sadness and can creep up quite unexpectedly. The following is a brief introduction including some of the symptoms and sources of help. However it is essential that if you are feeling low and think you might be depressed you visit your GP.


The break-up of a relationship or bereavement is a time when you are likely to experience a range of emotions; sadness, anxiety, stress, uncertainty about the how do you recognise the real onset of depression? The following is a checklist of possible symptoms:

Psychological symptoms may include:

  • A persistent feeling of sadness or feeling low
  • Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
  • Feeling there is no future or way out of your current situation or mood
  • Insomnia, disturbed sleep patterns
  • feeling sadTearfulness
  • Low tolerance and irritability
  • Low self esteem
  • Anxiety
  • Obsessive thoughts about death, suicide or harming your self or others
  • Confusion and memory lapses
  • A reliance on drugs or alcohol to 'lift' your mood or block or numb any feelings
  • Poor motivation and indecisiveness
  • Social withdrawal, reduced contact with family and friends
  • Physical symptoms might include:
  • Headaches
  • Lack of energy and lethargy
  • Slowed movement and speech
  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite or excessive bingeing, sudden weight gain or loss
  • Reduced sex drive

Getting Help

If you think you are suffering from any of the above symptoms you should seek help from your GP who can refer you for counselling or prescribe anti-depressants. Anti-depressants have the effect of levelling out your mood by stimulating certain chemicals in the brain that affect how you are feeling. Your dosage should be carefully monitored and any medication given in conjunction with counselling - anti-depressants should only ever be a temporary measure and help you to get to a point where you are able to cope. For further information on Depression and other related illnesses visit NHS Direct.

If you are feeling suicidal or in need of counselling contact one of the helplines on the right of this page.