Everyone feels sad at times, but how do you know if your sadness is something more? Part of being human is to sometimes feel sad or low, and often these feelings go away on their own.

When these feelings persist and impact our daily functioning, depression may be the culprit. Depression is a fairly common challenge impacting approximately 8.1% of all adults. Further, the CDC estimates 3 out of 10 people have experienced an increase in depression symptoms as a result of the pandemic.

Depression is a disorder impacting our emotions, as well as our body. It is often characterized by the following feelings:

  • Sadness
  • Loss
  • Hopelessness
  • Irritability
  • Anxiousness
  • Restlessness
  • Emptiness

Physical symptoms of depression may manifest in the following ways:

  • Extreme shifts in appetite (both loss or gain)
  • Changes in sleeping patterns (excessive or lack of sleep)
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of energy
  • Slowed speech

To assess if you are experiencing depression, complete Stanford University’s evidenced based self-assessment. This assessment will also help you learn more about the severity of the feelings you are experiencing and if you may benefit from working with a professional who specializes in supporting people through depression.

There are many self-care strategies you can use to reduce the causes and effects of these feelings. Check out HelpGuide’s strategies for coping with depression.