Feeling down

Feeling sad or blue is a normal emotion and for most of us, it passes quickly and we are able to get back to our normal selves. However, continually feeling low or sad to the point that it starts to affect your ability to function normally may mean you might have developed depression and you will need to seek professional help.
This section discusses what you can do about long term low mood and depression and where you can get help if you need it.

Feeling down

Is feeling down a problem?

Feeling a bit down is not necessarily a problem, we all have times when we receive bad news or experience a loss of some kind. Our mood soon rebounds from these moments but sometimes the feelings are more serious, like hopelessness, misery and worthlessness. In this case, it could be depression and it’s important you recognise the signs and symptoms of what is a serious mental health condition.

Other signs that could indicate you have a problem are:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Concentration lapses
  • Feeling tired

You might have lost interest in things you have previously enjoyed (including sex) or lose the motivation to do anything at all. Symptoms can be numerous and varied, for example, a common sign of depression is loss of appetite OR eating more than normal.

For some people, they may even think about hurting or even killing themselves. If this is the case, seek urgent help by dialling 111 or contacting the local mental health crisis assessment team(external link).

What can I do about it?

The first thing you can do is to stop being staunch about it. Faking happiness and ‘putting on a brave face’ is not helpful and can actually make things worse in the long run.

Try these self-management tools, as they may be all you need to improve your mood. They are also useful additions to getting professional help.

Keep active and social

It can be hard to get out of the house to spend time with family and friends but if you can find the strength to do this the benefits are great. There’s no better therapy than being around the people who make you happy and care for you. If you need a little help getting back into your normal social routine, read more about useful tools for getting physically active or building social support in the Resilience Toolkit

Use helpful self talk

The way we think can affect the way we feel, and vice versa. Feeling down comes with negative thinking about ourselves, our lives, other people and our future, so it’s important to balance that with more positive thinking. Read about helpful thinking by visiting the Resilience Toolkit

Look after yourself

When you’re feeling down, one of the first things to go is your physical fitness, yet maintaining it makes it easier to work on your mental wellbeing. So eat well, get plenty of rest, keep up your exercise regime and avoid drugs and alcohol.

Getting help

Sometimes, self-management isn’t enough and you need some professional help. This isn’t a sign of weakness - you have a condition that needs treating - just like if you needed antibiotics for an infection. Find out more about depression and its treatment here.