Depression is one of the most common mental health problems, with one in ten people in Scotland diagnosed with the illness at some point in their lives.

Depression is different from just feeling down or unhappy, as the feelings associated with depression are often far more intense and can stay with people for extended periods of time.

Depression affects people in different ways, but commonly leads to feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, anxiety and negativity.

Mild depression doesn’t stop people from leading normal lives, but makes everything feel more difficult. At its most extreme depression can be life threatening if it causes people to feel suicidal.

There are also some specific types of depression:

  1. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – depression that occurs at a particular time of year, or during a particular season. (Link to:
  2. Dysthymia – continuous mild depression that lasts for two years or more. Also called persistent depressive disorder or chronic depression.
  3. Prenatal Depression – depression that occurs during pregnancy. This is sometimes also called antenatal depression.
  4. Postnatal Depression (PND) – depression that occurs in the first year after giving birth. (

Common Experiences of Depression

  • Lack of energy and concentration.
  • Feeling low, sad.
  • Lack of feelings.
  • Feeling worthless.
  • Disrupted sleep i.e. insomnia, sleeping for long periods.
  • Feeling distant/isolated from people.

Personal Story

"I didn’t think by sharing my problem it would have made it better, so I kept it to myself. I’ve always been quite an independent person and thought that I could fix problems on my own and when I realised I couldn’t, I was embarrassed more than anything.

"I wasn’t able to ask people to help me, because inside my head I didn’t know what was going on and I couldn’t find that path through to feeling better, to feeling happy again. By having to talk to someone and ask for help I felt like I had failed.

"When I eventually did speak to a friend after it getting to a point where I really thought I was going to do myself some damage, I realised that if I had done that weeks before I could have saved myself a lot of grief and emotional problems that lasted a whole lot longer than if I’d tackled it earlier.

"It’s very difficult when you want to have a conversation with someone to know what to say, and you’re probably scared that you’ll say the wrong thing. Even if you have had your own experience, everyone’s experience is different, so it can still be uncomfortable. But that person could be at their worst and you speaking to them might just be the thing that helps to bring them back."

- Jenn

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