It’s quite normal to feel a bit blue from time to time, especially if you’ve recently experienced a traumatic event. But if these feelings persist for more than two weeks, you could be suffering from depression; a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, think and act. In severe cases it can even interfere with a person’s ability to function at work and at home.

If you experience one or more of these symptoms for more than two weeks, you could be depressed:

  • Persistent feelings of sadness and or a depressed mood.
  • Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed.
  • Changes in appetite resulting in losing or gaining significant amounts of weight, unrelated to dieting or exercise.
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much.
  • Loss of energy and increased fatigue.
  • Increase in purposeless physical activity like pacing or slowed movements and speech that maybe noticeable by others.
  • Feeling worthless or guilty.
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions.
  • Suicidal thoughts.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, these symptoms must last for at least two weeks for a diagnosis to be made. It’s also important to note that medical conditions such as thyroid issues and vitamin deficiencies can mimic these symptoms and thus, a full medical evaluation is often advised.

What to do if you think you’re depressed?

Regular physical exercise and a good, healthy diet are a great way to combat and even prevent depression. Apps like ayubo.life, which are available for both Android and iOS, can motivate you and keep you on track. Exercise can help improve mood and create positive feelings. Positive social interactions can also help combat and prevent depression.

Getting enough good quality sleep regularly and avoiding alcohol and other drugs can also reduce the symptoms of depression.

If this doesn’t help, you may require proper treatment from a qualified medical professional and you shouldn’t hesitate to seek it. ayubo.life has many resources to help you if you are suffering from depression and can even suggest qualified professionals if you wish to seek treatment.

How are depression and sadness different?

People who’ve experienced a loss, such as the death of a loved one, may describe themselves as being depressed. But being sad and being depressed is not the same. Grieving is a natural response while depression is a clinically diagnosable disorder. Here are some ways they differ:

  • In grief, sadness comes in waves and is often mixed with positive memories. In depression, mood and/interest (pleasure) are decreased for more than two weeks at a time.
  • Self-esteem is usually maintained in grief but in depression, feelings of worthlessness and self-loathing are common.
  • Sometimes grief can bring on major depression. When these two co-exist, grief is experienced more severely and lasts longer. But despite the similarities, grief and depression are two very different animals.

Depression is a real illness and help is available no matter how much you may think otherwise.