We all feel down at different times. But sometimes these sad feelings can develop into a depression that can make life feel impossible, and no matter how much you try, you can’t lift yourself out of these heavy feelings. Here are some symptoms of depression. If you suffer from any of these for more than just a few days, know that you aren’t alone, and there is support out there to help you cope. Speak to someone you trust, and use the helplines given at the end of this article.

Here are a few signs of depression:

1. Hopeless outlook – Do you feel hopeless and negative about the future? Depressed people often don’t believe life will change for the better and feel they’re probably the reason why everything is going so wrong.

2. Lost interest – The things that used to excite you don’t bring you the same pleasure anymore. You’re likely to skip work/school and always come up with excuses when friends are going out.

3. Increased fatigue and sleep problems – Depression takes away your energy and for that reason you always feel tired and sleepy. It’s also possible that you might feel sleepless as your mind is constantly replaying your problems and worries.

4. Changes in appetite and weight – This varies from person to person. Some will have an increased appetite and gain weight, while some won’t be hungry and lose weight.

5. Uncontrollable emotions – At times you’ll have all these different emotions that are constantly changing; one minute you’re all fine and the next you feel all sad. You’ll be angry about small things that never used to bother you.

6. Amnesia and lack of concentration – You’re likely to misplace stuff and struggle to concentrate in class/at work. You’ll take a bit longer than usual to make simple decisions because there are too many activities going on in your head.

7. Alcohol abuse – Alcohol seems like a way to escape your life to a world where there are no problems. With all the challenges you’re faced with, that bottle always seems to be able to make them all vanish.

8. Increased risk-taking – You’ll act recklessly as you don’t see the need to value this life anymore. Some people who are feeling terrible do risky things like drinking and driving or having unprotected sex.

9. arming yourself – A person who’s depressed may try to harm themselves, such as cutting themselves, in order to try to feel better. They’ll inflict physical pain upon themselves just to get rid of what they’re feeling inside.

10. Thinking about death – Some depressed people don’t feel the need to continue living and start thinking about suicide. They don’t know why they should continue with life while everything has just been going the wrong way. If you feel this way then it is very important that you ask for help.

Depression is like a disease, and even when you feeling hopeless, you need to remember that it can be cured and you will one day feel better.

Please note depression symptoms are not limited to the ones mentioned above. Contact the South African Depression and Anxiety Group if you or someone you know is suffering from depression.

To contact a counsellor between 8am-8pm Monday to Sunday,
Call: 011 234 4837 / Fax number: 011 234 8182
For a suicidal emergency contact them on 0800 567 567
24hr Helpline 0800 12 13 14
SMS 31393 (and they will call you back)


Tell us: Have you suffered from depression? Where did you go seek for help?