We all feel a bit sad or down now and then. An especially bad day at work, a romantic heartbreak, a personal loss, or a simple disappointment can plunge even the strongest of us into the blues. But for most of us, sadness is a temporary feeling, a funk we shake off after a good night’s sleep or a relaxing weekend away from work. Symptoms of depression can include low mood, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, fatigue or low energy, poor sleep, loss of libido, no appetite or else overeating, clouded thinking, thoughts of suicide, and a loss of pleasure in things you used to enjoy.
There are different types of depression. A major depressive episode lasts at least two weeks but is usually longer, where you have many of the above symptoms every day for most of the day. Seasonal depression, or SAD (for seasonal affective disorder), happens when you experience depression only during winter months when there is less daylight—mood generally lifts in spring and summer. Postpartum depression is common among new mothers, and can affect the mother-child bond. Depression can also happen after we lose a loved one, when bereavement takes longer to pass than usual.