Everybody gets down sometimes. But if it's stopping you from living your life, you may be depressed.
It's very unusual to feel happy every day. But if you've been really sad for weeks on end, and it's starting to take over your life, you could be depressed.
Depression is a real illness with real symptoms, and isn't something you can just snap out of. People with depression experience intense negative emotions that don't go away.
It's different in everyone, but here are some common indications:
Sadness, hopelessness and low moods that last weeks at a time
Getting very little or no enjoyment from life, particularly from things that you used to enjoy
Lack of motivation, even for small everyday tasks
Lack or loss of self-confidence and feelings of worthlessness
Feelings of anxiety
Poor memory, difficulty concentration, inability to sleep
A change in appetite and weight loss or weight gain
Loss of interest in friends, family, school, college or work
Why do people get it?
Lots of things can lead to depression. It can be a result of lots of stress or bad experiences. It can also run in families, but some people are just naturally prone to it.
Whatever the cause is, 1 in 4 people will experience some kind of mental health issue over the course of one year so if you are feeling down, you really aren't on your own. Depression can happen to anyone, no matter who you are. It also affects people of different ages.
Is there any medication you can take?
If someone's very depressed, antidepressant medication may help them to feel better more quickly.
Talk to your GP. Doctors see people suffering from stress and depression every day. They'll think you're brilliant for noticing what's wrong and asking for help.
I think I'm depressed...
There are lots of ways to help you get better.
Talk to someone you trust. It's best to speak to your family if you can.
Eat right: balanced, fresh, and most importantly green. Green veg may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it may help.
Quit alcohol, drugs, cigarettes and detox the mind. It's time to think straight.
Most importantly, see your GP who'll have lots of advice. They might also recommend you see a counsellor or therapist. These experts help us figure out what's gone wrong, and how to put things right.
If you're worried you're depressed, you mustn't be afraid to talk to someone about it - be it a parent, friend or doctor. It's nothing to be ashamed of.
Being depressed isn't your fault, and getting help doesn't make you a weak person. It just means you want to get your life back on track - sooner rather than later.
What is Blue Monday?
Blue Monday is a name given to a day in January, typically the third Monday of the month, claimed to be the most depressing day of the year. The concept was first publicized as part of a 2005.