Spotting the Signs of Depression: Navigating Emotional Terrain

Depression, often misunderstood as mere sadness, is a complex condition that can be defined as an array of emotions that don’t always have any rhyme or reason. As we explore the depths of mental health, it's crucial to recognise the symptoms of depression, understand its profound impact, and, most importantly, know that support for depression is readily available and easily accessible if you know where to look. Let's navigate the meaning of depression and its definition on this journey together.


black and white image of a hand on window on a rainy day sad

What Causes Depression?


A variety of factors, such as genetics, childhood experiences, stressful life events, or lifestyle choices, are known causes of depression. Gaining an understanding of these triggers is a proactive step towards self-help. Treatments like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), counselling, and other therapy for depression can be effective in managing depression symptoms and guiding individuals on how to treat depression. Journaling can also help to work out what causes depression in ourselves and help work forward to a treatment plan.

Depression is not uncommon with over 280 million people worldwide struggling and battling the mental illness (Healthline). Shockingly, 60% of those affected avoid seeking any professional help due to the delightfully unwanted stigma around the mental illness.

Symptoms You Might Notice in Yourself


Starting Points and Resources


To begin addressing depression:


  1. Minimum Two Weeks: Persistent symptoms for at least two weeks may indicate depression.


  1. Mood Diary: Keep a mood diary for 2 weeks using tools like ME+ or of you are into paper journals try this to track and reflect. You could also meditate and begin writing down key problems that might be making you feel low in mood. It‘s also worth noting what makes you feel good during this time too as this could help you moving forward with the healing journey!


  1. Book an Appointment: Schedule an appointment with a GP, and consider using the GAD-7 & PHQ-9 tests to articulate your feelings, and provide the GP a good insight as to where you are at mentally. These tests do also cover symptoms of anxiety as depression and anxiety is found to go “hand-in-hand”. I would recommend bringing your journal to your appointment to also demonstrate your mood over the last 2-4 weeks,

What Depression Isn’t


  • A general low mood; it's a complex mental health condition that needs professional treatment even if its self-help led.
  • A sign of weakness; 1 in 10 individuals may experience a depressive episode in their lifetime.
  • Permanent; it is treatable, and help is available, like here my mission is to help as many of you as I can through your mental health healing journey.
man holding woman hands supportively whilst sharing coffee at a table

Recognising Depression in Others


Observing changes in others:

  • Sleep disturbances and appetite changes
  • Neglect of grooming and social withdrawal
  • Expressing hopelessness or thoughts of not wanting to be around

How to Support Someone


Check In: Ask about their feelings and observe changes. It’s really important to go with your gut, people may say they are fine when they are not, so ask again to be sure!


Listen Actively: Provide a supportive space to express emotions, and ask in such a way to acknowledge what they have said then ask a follow up. This could look like "I am so sorry to hear that has upset you, for how long has this feeling been going on for?".


Encourage Action: Assist in small improvements, like sleep or exercise and if it’s a genuine cause of concern make sure to recommend professional support and advice. If they are scared offer to go with them or help book the appointment or even just write that first appointment check-list.


Follow Up: Regular check-ins show continued care and concern. This could be a phone call, a text or a video call, it’s all about reminding a loved one that they are not alone in their journey and there is support there if they need it.

Reach Out for Support

Though depression is a complex condition, it is navigable with the right support and mental health awareness. Recognising the signs, seeking support, and finding a community of understanding are essential steps in transforming the conversation around mental health. Together, we can make a significant difference in the lives of those affected by depression.


If you feel isolated or are seeking advice, connect with me on social media or drop a comment below. Let’s build a supportive community and access mental health services that contribute to mental wellbeing, helping each other affordably on this journey towards improved mental health.


Founder, The Affordable Therapy Co.

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