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All about depression

Everybody’s heard of depression. It’s more than just sadness; it’s a combination of thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. With help, recovery is possible.


“Depression affects many young people. It’s never too late to get help and start on the road to recovery.”

Depression has many faces

Different people experience depression in different ways.

Life experiences affect people differently so what triggers depression in one person won’t necessarily make somebody else depressed.

Depression can last from a few weeks to months or even years if left untreated.

How does depression start?

People might begin feeling depressed for many reasons. For example:

After a specific event like a relationship breakup
It’s genetic and runs in the family
It’s linked with another health condition
You may not know why you’re depressed and that’s okay

"On the rut days, where you have that sadness and dark energy inside you, I find that you can turn that dark energy into something. Can I make this disgust for myself, this shame, their cringe, this embarrassment, this hatred... Can I make it into art?"

–Cam Walker, aka Struthless, Illustrator and Animator

What does depression look like?

Depression is a combination of thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. If you’re depressed you might:

Feel on-edge, worried, or anxious

Have trouble sleeping

Not have any energy

Not feel like eating

Not feel like showering or getting dressed

Get annoyed or upset by little things

Stop enjoying things you used to find fun

Feel that your life is pointless

Feel empty or numb

Feel cut-off from others and alone

Feel negative about yourself

Feel angry

Have thoughts about wanting to die or hurt yourself

Different types of depression

Depression can take many forms and can last for only a short time, a very long time, or anywhere in between.

  • Major depression – sometimes called major depressive disorder, clinical depression, unipolar depression, or simply ‘depression’
  • Melancholia – a severe form of depression reflected in slowed physical movement and loss of pleasure in almost everything
  • Psychotic depression – when people lose touch with reality and may involve hallucinations or delusions
  • Antenatal and postnatal depression – women are at risk of developing depression during pregnancy or after the birth of their baby
  • Bipolar disorder – sometimes called manic depression, the person experiences extreme highs and lows
  • Cyclothymic disorder – when people alternate between long periods of feeling manic and long periods of feeling depressed
  • Dysthymic disorder – similar to major depression except it’s less severe but symptoms can last longer
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) – is where changes in seasons cause depression and may be related to changes in light exposure

What to do if you think you’re depressed

Sometimes people get better on their own, but most people need support and treatment to recover from depression.

Spend time with other people you have things in common with

Make an appointment with a GP to talk about what treatment options are available

Sometimes medication is recommended as a treatment option

Take time out and relax when you need a break

Try looking after your body and brain by doing regular exercise and eating healthily

Sleep is really important so make sure you’re getting enough

Limit the use of drugs and alcohol as this can get in the way of recovery

Try doing the things you used to enjoy or start a new hobby

Counselling, also called ‘talking therapy’, is helpful for many people trying to recover from depression

Seek out someone you trust to talk to about what’s happening and get things off your chest

Call a free counselling service like Kids Helpline to get help and support tailored to you and your situation

Notice what thoughts go through your mind and how they affect your mood then try to replace the negative ones with more positive or neutral ones

Get help today. We’re here for you.

If you think you or someone you know is depressed take action today and get support.

Call us on 1800 55 1800, start a WebChat or email us today.

You can also check out Head to Health for other digital services and resources.

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This content was last reviewed 15/02/2018
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