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What to look for: Low Mood & Depression

Learn about the thoughts, feelings, behaviours and physical symptoms linked to low mood and depression.

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The symptoms here show up early on. Other symptoms may develop later. Everyone experiences low mood and depression differently and not everyone will have all the symptoms.

Thoughts add

  • Think you are worthless or a failure
  • Blame and criticize yourself

  • Find it hard to concentrate or make decisions

  • Have negative thoughts about most things

  • Have thoughts of life not being worth living

Feelings add

  • Feel down, unhappy or blue pretty much all the time
  • Feel angry or irritated
  • Don’t feel happy even when good things happen
  • Feel guilty if something goes wrong (even small issues)
  • Less interest or enjoyment in activities
  • Feel numb (don’t feel anything) or empty inside
  • Feel hopeless that things will get better

Behaviours add

  • Put less effort into school or work
  • Spend less time with family and friends
  • Cry often when you get really down
  • Get into arguments with family and friends
  • Find it hard to get motivated to do anything
  • Stop caring about your appearance and hygiene
  • Spend a lot of time in bed
  • Do things that might get you into trouble
  • Use alcohol or other substances to try and feel better
  • Self-injuring

Physical Signs add

  • Decrease or increase in appetite
  • Lose or gain weight
  • Tired all the time, no energy
  • Feel restless much of the time; can’t sit still
  • Have problems sleeping
  • Often have aches and pains or other unexplained physical symptoms
  • Feel like your body is slowed down

Remember, symptoms are changes from your usual routines or habits. Not everyone experiences the same set of symptoms or to the same level. Most people experience these symptoms from time to time but they become a problem when they keep coming back or don’t go away. They can also indicate there is a physical health problem.

Everyone experiences low mood and depression differently. Some people just feel down all the time but manage to get through the day. For others it starts to affect their life more. When depressed mood persists and won’t go away, professional help may be needed.

Concerned about someone else?

It can be difficult to understand why a friend feels so down all the time. For information on how to support a friend, visit Supporting a Friend.

Families are often the first to notice changes and become concerned. For information on how to support a young person, visit Supporting a Family Member.

What Next?

If you want to find out if this is something you are experiencing or are looking for tips to help manage low mood or depression here are a few options.