We all go through ups and downs in our mood. Sadness is a normal reaction to life's struggles, setbacks, and disappointments. Many people use the word "depression" to explain these kinds of feelings, but depression is much more than just sadness.
Some people describe depression as "living in a black hole" or having a feeling of impending doom. However, some depressed people don't feel sad at all, instead they may feel lifeless, empty or apathetic.
Whatever the symptoms, depression is different from normal sadness in that it engulfs your day-to-day life, interfering with your ability to work, study, eat, sleep, and have fun. The feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and worthlessness are intense and unrelenting, with little, if any, relief.
The situations and pressures that cause stress are known as stressors. We usually think of stressors as being negative, such as an exhausting work schedule or a rocky relationship. However, anything that puts high demands on you or forces you to adjust can be stressful This includes positive events such as getting married, buying a house, going to college, or receiving a promotion.
What causes stress depends, at least in part on your perception of it. Something that is stressful to you may not affect someone else, they may even enjoy it.
For example, your morning commute may make you anxious and tense because you worry that traffic will make you late. Others, however, may find the trip relaxing because they allow more than enough time and enjoy listening to music while they drive.
If you identify with several of the following signs and symptoms, and they just won't go away, you may be suffering from clinical depression.
Depression is a major risk factor for suicide. The deep despair and hopelessness that goes along with depression can make suicide feel like the only way to escape the pain. Thoughts of death or suicide could be a serious symptom of depression, so take any suicidal talk or behaviour seriously and not just attention seeking, but a real cry for help.
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