Coping with the symptoms of depression

Tuesday 3 October 2017

Depression can be experienced in so many different ways. You might be feeling low, down, sad, tearful or overwhelmed. The symptoms below show that there is a link between negative thoughts, behaviours and physical changes when we experience depression. It can be helpful to consider your own experience of depression and how that may fit into the areas below so that you can find a way to break the cycle and start to improve your mood.

Am I depressed?

Depression can often be experienced with a mixture of the following symptoms:

Physical changes

  • Tiredness
  • Tearful
  • Headaches
  • Tense shoulders/neck
  • Reduced appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Poor concentration

Negative thoughts

  • “I’m a failure”
  • “I can’t be bothered”
  • “I can’t get anything right”
  • “I am horrible to be around”


  • Doing less activities or things you enjoy
  • Sleeping/napping more
  • More irritable/snappy
  • Comfort eating
  • Withdrawing from people or activities that you used to enjoy.

What can I do to make things a bit easier?

It is important to be aware that depression is quite common. In fact it is one of the most common psychological problems reported by people. You are not alone, and there is support and help available. It is important that you continue to take time engaging in the types of activities you normally enjoy and spend some time in the company of people you care about. Although you may feel better initially, cancelling regular activities or social interactions can leave you feeling more isolated and lower your mood in the long run. Trying to stay physically active can also help manage your mood. It doesn’t have to be strenuous exercise either. Activities such as gentle walking, bike riding, yoga, swimming, stretching or tai-chi are all good ways to help manage your mental and physical health.

While staying physically and socially active may be helpful to manage short periods of low mood, it is important that you seek professional help if:

  • your mood is very low
  • your mood is low for more days than not
  • your mood is low for several days at a time regularly
  • you notice periods of feeling very low, followed by feeling full of energy

Need a helping hand?

If you’re suffering with depression and struggling to cope, then support is available. Hidden Wounds is a free and confidential service run by Help for Heroes that offers treatment and support for people wishing to learn how to manage their anger better. You can reach them by calling 0808 2020 144 (free from UK landlines) or by requesting more information from them here.

Please be aware that Hidden Wounds is not a crisis service. If you are in need of urgent support:

  • Samaritans provide a confidential national phone support service on 116 123, which is free to call from within the UK and Ireland.
  • Attend your local accident and emergency department. If you can, ask a close friend or family member to come with you for support.

Click here to get support


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