Taking Depression Seriously

Depression, whilst it is a medical condition, it is in essence an invisible illness with mostly non physical symptoms hidden beneath the surface of the skin.  Unlike physical conditions where a GP appointments can be sorted quickly – it can take months to get NHS help for psychological medical conditions.  And in most cases initial contact with the NHS will consist of an assessment resulting in several more months of waiting before appropriate treatment becomes available.

Depression can manifest itself in multiple forms and include the following symptoms as detailed on the NHS website:

Psychological symptoms:

  • continuous low mood or sadness,
  • feelings of hopelessness and helplessness,
  • low self-esteem,
  • tearfulness,
  • feelings of guilt,
  • feeling irritable and intolerant of others,
  • lack of motivation and little interest in things,
  • difficulty making decisions,
  • lack of enjoyment,
  • suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming someone else,
  • feeling anxious or worried, and
  • reduced sex drive.

Physical symptoms:

  • slowed movement or speech,
  • change in appetite or weight (usually decreased, but sometimes increased),
  • constipation,
  • unexplained aches and pains,
  • lack of energy or lack of interest in sex,
  • changes to the menstrual cycle, and
  • disturbed sleep patterns (for example, problems going to sleep or waking in the early hours of the morning).

Social symptoms:

  •  not performing well at work,
  • taking part in fewer social activities and avoiding contact with friends,
  • reduced hobbies and interests, and
  • difficulties in home and family life.




With 15 % of the population suffering from depression, we are all likely to know someone affected, and that person is likely to carry the burden quietly, unaware of the severity of their condition and ashamed to admit to it.  According to a report published by Roehampton University and the children’s charity – the Elizabeth Finn Centre, the 18 – 30 age group are most likely to suffer from depressive symptoms which left untreated could lead to a “ vicious cycle of related disability and an inability to work.”  Of course, the idea that people who suffer from depression are somehow substandard and unable to make positive contributions to society and live a successful life is preposterous.

Famous people who have suffered from severe bouts of depression have included, Winston Churchill, Robbie Williams, Paul Merton, Stephen Fry,  Woody Allen, Jim Carrey, Mel C, Kirsten Dunst, Harrison Ford, JK Rowling, Natalie Imbrulia, Beyonce, Gwyneth Paltrow, Spike Milligan, Britney Spears and Isaac Newton. So if you suffer from depression, you are in extremely good company.


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