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I’m Feeling Depressed

Rochdale and District Mind offer a wide variety of services to help local residents suffering from depression:

Please click here to access our services.

The section below explains more about depression , including possible causes and general information on how you can access treatment and support. It includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family.

Are there different types of depression?

If you are given a diagnosis of depression, you might be told that you have mild, moderate or severe depression. This describes what sort of impact your symptoms are having on you currently, and what sort of treatment you’re likely to be offered. You might move between different mild, moderate and severe depression during one episode of depression or across different episodes.

There are also some specific types of depression:

  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) – depression that usually (but not always) occurs in the winter. SAD Association provides information and advice. See our page on SAD for more information.
  • Dysthymia – continuous mild depression that lasts for two years or more. Also called persistent depressive disorder or chronic depression.
  • Prenatal depression – sometimes also called antenatal depression, it occurs during pregnancy.
  • Postnatal depression (PND) – occurs in the weeks and months after becoming a parent. Postnatal depression is usually diagnosed in women but it can affect men, too.

Symptoms of Depression

How you might feel  

  • down, upset or tearful
  • restless, agitated or irritable
  • guilty, worthless and down on yourself
  • empty and numb
  • isolated and unable to relate to other people
  • finding no pleasure in life or things you usually enjoy
  • a sense of unreality
  • no self-confidence or self-esteem
  • hopeless and despairing
  • suicidal

National Mind produce an excellent booklet on Understanding Depression – click to see a PDF of this booklet

Clicking on the questions below to give you detailed answers to these frequently asked questions

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How you might behave (if you have depression)?

  • avoiding social events and activities you usually enjoy
  • self-harming or suicidal behaviour
  • finding it difficult to speak or think clearly
  • losing interest in sex
  • difficulty in remembering or concentrating on things
  • using more tobacco, alcohol or other drugs than usual
  • difficulty sleeping, or sleeping too much
  • feeling tired all the time
  • no appetite and losing weight, or eating too much and gaining weight
  • physical aches and pains with no obvious physical cause
  • moving very slowly, or being restless and agitated

Self Care for Depression/What can I do for myself?

Experiencing depression can make it hard to find the energy to look after yourself. But taking an active role in your treatment, and taking steps to help yourself cope with your experiences, can make a big difference to how you feel. 
Here are some things you can try:

  • Look after yourself
  • Get good sleep. For lots of people who experience depression, sleeping too little or too much can be a daily problem. Getting good sleep can help to improve your mood and increase your energy levels. (See our pages on coping with sleep problems for more information).
  • Eat well. Eating a balanced and nutritious diet can help you feel well, think clearly and increase your energy levels. (See our pages on food and mood for more tips).
  • Keep active. Many people find exercise a challenge but gentle activities like yoga, swimming or walking can be a big boost to your mood. (See our pages on physical activity for more information).
  • Look after your hygiene. When you’re experiencing depression, it’s easy for hygiene to not feel like a priority. But small things, like taking a shower and getting fully dressed whether or not you’re going out of the house, can make a big difference to how you feel.
  • Work out what makes you happy. Try making a list of activities, people and places that make you happy or feel good. Then make a list of what you do every day. It probably won’t be possible to include all the things that make you happy but try to find ways to bring those things into your daily routine.
  • Treat yourself. When you’re feeling down, it can be hard to feel good about yourself. Try to do at least one positive thing for yourself every day. This could be taking the time for a long bath, spending time with a pet or reading your favourite book. See our relaxation tips for some ideas of things to do.
  • Create a resilience toolkit. This could be a list of activities you know improve your mood, or you could fill an actual box with things to do to cheer yourself up. Try including your favourite book or film, a notebook and pen to write down your thoughts or notes of encouragement to yourself. It might feel difficult or a bit silly to put it all together but it can be a really useful tool if you’re feeling too low to come up with ideas later on.
  • Be kind to yourself. None of us achieve all our goals. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t do something you planned to, or find yourself feeling worse again. Try to treat yourself as you would treat a friend, and be kind to yourself.
  • Keep Active.Join a group. This could be anything from a community project or a sports team to a hobby group. The important thing is to find an activity you enjoy, or perhaps something you’ve always wanted to try, to help you feel motivated.
  • Try new things. Trying something new, like starting a new hobby, learning something new or even trying new food, can help boost your mood and break unhelpful patterns of thinking and behaviour.
  • Try volunteering. Volunteering (or just offering to help someone out) can make you feel better about yourself and less alone. Volunteering England, Volunteering Wales and Do-It can help match you with a volunteering opportunity in your area.
  • Set realistic goals. Try to set yourself achievable goals, like getting dressed every day or cooking yourself a meal. Acheiving your goals can help you feel good and boost your self-confidence, and help you move on to bigger ones.
  • Keep a mood diary. This can help you keep track of any changes in your mood, and you might find that you have more good days than you think. It can also help you notice if any activities, places or people make you feel better or worse.
  • Challenge your thinking. Students Against Depression have lots of information and activity sheets to try to help you challenge negative thinking.
  • Try self-help. If your depression is mild, you might find free online cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) courses like MoodGYM can help you tackle some of your negative thinking and avoid your depression growing worse.
  • Contact a helpline. If you’re struggling with difficult feelings, and you can’t talk to someone you know, there are many helplines you can contact. These are not professional counselling services but the people you speak to are trained to listen and could help you feel more able to cope with your low mood. See our page on telephone support for more information.
  • Keep in touch. If you don’t feel up to seeing people in person, or talking, send a text or email to keep in touch with friends and family.
  • Keep talking. It might feel hard to start talking to your friends and family about what you’re feeling, but many people find that just sharing their experiences can help them feel better.
  • Join a peer support group. Going to a peer support group is a great way to share tips and meet other people who are going through similar things. See Useful contacts for support for anyone experiencing depression, while Students Against Depression offers student-specific support.
  • Use online support. Online support can be a useful way to build a support network when you cannot, or don’t feel able to, do things in person. Online forums like Elefriends and Big White Wall are specifically for anyone struggling with their mental health. (See our pages on seeking support online and how to stay safe online for more information).

Treatment of Depression

The sort of treatment you’re offered for depression will depend on:

  • how much your symptoms are affecting you
  • your personal preference for what sort of treatment you find helps you

The main treatments for depression are:

  • talking treatments
  • medication

What can family and friends do ( when someone they know is suffering from depression)

The support of friends and family can play a very important role in someone recovering from depression. Here are some suggestions for how you can help.

  • Support them to get help. You can’t force anyone to get help if they don’t want it, so it’s important to reassure your loved one that it’s OK to ask for help, and that there is help out there. See our pages on how to support someone else to seek help for their mental health for more information.
  • Be open about depression. Lots of people can find it hard to open up and speak about how they’re feeling. Try to be open about depression and difficult emotions, so your friend or family member knows that it’s OK to talk about what they’re experiencing.
  • Keep in touch. It might be hard for your loved one to have the energy to keep up contact, so try to keep in touch. Even just a text message or email to let them know that you’re thinking of them can make a big difference to how someone feels.

Talking… not even talking about how I felt. Just talking about stupid things that didn’t matter over coffee, without pressure and knowing that I can talk about the tough stuff if I want to.

  • Don’t be critical. If you’ve not experienced depression yourself, it can be hard to understand why your friend or family member can’t just ‘snap out of it’. Try not to blame them or put too much pressure on them to get better straight away – your loved one is probably being very critical and harsh towards themselves already. Mind’s information about depression can help you learn more about it.

Just a simple call or text asking me how I am helps. I don’t want sympathy, just to know they are there if I need them.

  • Keep a balance. If someone is struggling, you might feel like you should take care of everything for them. While it might be useful to offer to help them do things, like keep on top of the housework or cook healthy meals, it’s also important to encourage them to do things for themselves. Everyone will need different support, so talk to your friend or family member about what they might find useful to have your help with, and identify things they can try to do themselves.
  • Take care of yourself. Your mental health is important too, and looking after someone else could put a strain on your wellbeing. See our pages on coping as a carer, managing stress and maintaining your wellbeing for more information on how to look after yourself.

Listen carefully, don’t judge and most of all, don’t say, ‘Cheer up.’ It’s just not that simple. Sometimes solutions are unnecessary, so don’t feel you have to provide one.

Causes of depression

There are several ideas about what causes depression. It can vary a lot between different people, and for some people a combination of different factors may cause their depression. Some find that they become depressed without any obvious reason.

Some common causes of depression are listed below

  • upsetting childhood experiences
  • life events
  • other mental health problems
  • physical health problems
  • genetic inheritance
  • medication, drugs and alcohol
  • sleep, diet and exercise

Symptoms of depression

How you might feel if you have depression

  • down, upset or tearful
  • restless, agitated or irritable
  • guilty, worthless and down on yourself
  • empty and numb
  • isolated and unable to relate to other people
  • finding no pleasure in life or things you usually enjoy
  • a sense of unreality
  • no self-confidence or self-esteem
  • hopeless and despairing
  • suicidal
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