Being depressed is not just about feeling sad, although being sad and teary can be a sign of depression. Depression can often be the lack of feeling, of feeling numb, of being stuck and often not having the words to explain how and why you feel the way you do. Depression can be described from Mild to Severe depending on how long you have been depressed, and the impact it is having on your life.
You may be experiencing depression if, for two or more weeks, you have been experiencing several of the following symptoms:
- low mood for most of the day
- lack of interest in things you used to enjoy
- changes in diet and/or weight
- a change in sleeping pattern
- feeling physically restless or slow
- feeling worthless or guilty
- poor concentration
- thoughts of harming yourself.
If you are concerned that you may be depressed, talk to your doctor and/or a counsellor about what you are thinking and feeling. There are many things that have been shown to help people out of their depression, including medicine and counselling, complimentary therapies, and physical activity.
Spending long periods of time feeling bad about yourself can be very distressing and hard to live with. When it also feels hopeless, that circumstances will never improve, the prospect of continuing to live as you are can feel intolerable.
If you are having thoughts of suicide or of harming yourself, we strongly advise that you consult with a counsellor or your GP as soon as possible. If you wish to understand more about suicide, more information can be found at the Lifeline website.
It can be very hard to find the motivation to study when you are depressed. Although there are many reasons for lack of motivation, finding it difficult to concentrate and lack of motivation may also be a sign of depression.
Your ability to think clearly and critically, remember what you read and learn becomes more difficult when you are depressed. If your sleeping pattern has changed, you may find yourself missing classes and not finding time to study efficiently.
- If you think you are depressed, see a counsellor or a doctor as soon as possible.
- Do what you can to keep your energy levels up by making an effort to eat well and exercise.
- Go to bed at night and get out of bed in the morning at the same time each day.
- If you aren't doing all the study you are supposed to, do the most important things first and talk to someone (eg; a counsellor or Unit Chair) about what is going on.
- Have a look at the Mood Gym and other websites below.
- myCompass - an interactive self-help website by the Black Dog Institute.
- Beyond Blue - Information about depression, and support to get you through it.
- The Healthy University - Information and advice on anxiety and depression.
- DepNet - For information and support.
- Blue Pages - Good information about depression and how to treat it.
- Lifeline - Information and support for people feeling suicidal, and people concerned about someone they know.
- Mood Gym- Online program to help you be more positive in your thinking.
- Depression in Men - Because men can find it particularly difficult to ask for help.