Most everyone sometimes feels sad. But when feelings of sadness interfere with daily life and cause pain for both you and those who around you, you may have depression. Depression affects everyone differently, so symptoms can vary widely. Depression is often characterized by a loss of interest in activities that once were pleasurable. If you are depressed, you may feel sad, unhappy, anxious, angry, troubled, empty, distracted, helpless, worthless, guilty, irritable, frustrated or agitated.
You may cry for no reason and have regular thoughts about death, dying or suicide. Many people with depression also have physical symptoms such as aches and pains, loss of appetite or overeating, insomnia or excessive sleeping, fatigue, loss of energy, and digestive problems. Depression can be temporary and caused by a life event (such as child birth or the loss of a loved one) but for some it is a lifelong battle.
Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States affecting close to 7% of the adult population. Visiting a mental health professional is an important first step in coping with depression. If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, get help right away (Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 800-273-8255).