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Like Anxiety, Depression can also take many different forms, one of the main ones I see is Post Natal Depression which is experienced by women who have just become parents or just had a baby. This can also effect dads and fall under the term post natal paternal depression.

Bereavement can also leave us experiencing depressive symptoms for a peroid of time. Struggling to find our way out of this can lead us to therapy to help us to process and work through what has happened and how this has changed our lives.

Understanding depression

Everyone goes through periods of deep sadness and grief. These feelings usually fade away within a few days or weeks, depending on the circumstances. But profound sadness that lasts more than two weeks and affects your ability to function may be a sign of depression.

Some of the common symptoms of depression are:

  • deep feelings of sadness

  • dark moods

  • feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness

  • appetite changes

  • sleep changes

  • lack of energy

  • inability to concentrate

  • difficulty getting through your normal activities

  • lack of interest in things you used to enjoy

  • withdrawing from friends

  • preoccupation with death or thoughts of self-harm

Depression affects everyone differently, and you might only have some of these symptoms. You may also have other symptoms that aren’t listed here. Keep in mind that it’s also normal to have some of these symptoms from time to time without having depression.

But if they start to impact your day-to-day life, they may be the result of depression.

There are many types of depression. While they share some common symptoms, they also have some key differences.

Here’s a look at some types of depression and how they affect people.


1. Major depression

People  experience symptoms most of the day, every day. Like many mental health conditions, it has little to do with what’s happening around you. You can have a loving family, tons of friends, and a dream job. You can have the kind of life that others envy and still have depression.

Even if there’s no obvious reason for your depression, that doesn’t mean it’s not real or that you can simply tough it out.

It’s a severe form of depression that causes symptoms such as:

  • despondency, gloom, or grief

  • difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much

  • lack of energy and fatigue

  • loss of appetite or overeating

  • unexplained aches and pains

  • loss of interest in formerly pleasurable activities

  • lack of concentration, memory problems, and inability to make decisions

  • feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness

  • constant worry and anxiety

  • thoughts of death, self-harm, or suicide

These symptoms can last weeks or even months. Some people might have a single episode of major depression, while others experience it throughout their life. Regardless of how long its symptoms last, major depression can cause problems in your relationships and daily activities.


2. Persistent/chronic depression

Depression that lasts for two years or more. It might not feel as intense as major depression, but it can still strain relationships and make daily tasks difficult.

Some symptoms of persistent depression include:

  • deep sadness or hopelessness

  • low self-esteem or feelings of inadequacy

  • lack of interest in things you once enjoyed

  • appetite changes

  • changes to sleep patterns or low energy

  • concentration and memory problems

  • difficulty functioning at school or work

  • inability to feel joy, even at happy occasions

  • social withdrawal

Though it’s a long-term type of depression, the severity of symptoms can become less intense for months at a time before worsening again. Some people also have episodes of major depression before or while they have persistent depressive disorder. This is called double depression.

Persistent depression lasts for years at a time, so people with this type of depression may start to feel like their symptoms are just part of their normal outlook on life.

3. Perinatal depression (both moms and dads)

Occurs during pregnancy or within four weeks of the child's birth. It’s often called postpartum depression. But that term only applies to depression after the birth of the baby. Perinatal depression can occur while you or your partner are pregnant.

Many changes that happen during pregnancy and childbirth can trigger changes in the brain that lead to mood swings. The lack of sleep and physical discomfort that often accompanies pregnancy and having a newborn doesn’t help, either.

Symptoms of perinatal depression can be as severe as those of major depression and include:

  • sadness

  • anxiety

  • anger or rage

  • exhaustion

  • extreme worry about the baby‘s health and safety

  • difficulty caring for yourself or the new baby

  • thoughts of self-harm or harming the baby (this is not always the case and does not tend to happen out of the blue so don't worry)

 A lack of support or someone who had depression before increase the risk of developing perinatal depression, but it can happen to anyone.

4. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMMD)

a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) which we experience just before the onset of our peroid. While PMS symptoms can be both physical and psychological, PMDD symptoms tend to be mostly psychological.

These psychological symptoms are more severe than those associated with PMS. For example, some women might feel more emotional in the days leading up to their period. But someone with PMDD might experience a level of depression and sadness that gets in the way of day-to-day functions.

Other possible symptoms of PMDD include:

  • cramps, bloating, and breast tenderness

  • headaches

  • joint and muscle pain

  • sadness and despair

  • irritability and anger

  • extreme mood swings

  • food cravings or binge eating

  • panic attacks or anxiety

  • lack of energy

  • trouble focusing

  • sleep problems

Similarly to perinatal depression, PMDD is believed to be related to hormonal changes. Its symptoms often begin just after ovulation and start to ease up once you get your period.

Some women dismiss PMDD as just a bad case of PMS, but PMDD can become very severe and include thoughts of suicide.

5. Seasonal depression

or seasonal affective disorder(SAD) , is related to certain seasons. For most people, it tends to happen during the winter months.

Symptoms often begin in the fall, as days start to get shorter, and continue through the winter. They include:

  • social withdrawal

  • increased need for sleep

  • weight gain

  • daily feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or unworthiness

Seasonal depression may get worse as the season progresses and can lead to suicidal thoughts. Once spring rolls around, symptoms tend to improve. This might be related to changes in your bodily rhythms in response to the increase in natural light.

6. Situational depression

Brought on by specific events or situations, such as:

  • the death of a loved one

  • a serious illness or other life-threatening event

  • going through divorce or child custody issues

  • being in emotionally or physically abusive relationships

  • being unemployed or facing serious financial difficulties

  • facing extensive legal troubles

Of course, it’s normal to feel sad and anxious during events like these — even to withdraw from others for a bit. But situational depression happens when these feelings start to feel out of proportion with the triggering event and interfere with your daily life.

Situational depression symptoms tend to start within three months of the initial event and can include:

  • frequent crying

  • sadness and hopelessness

  • anxiety

  • appetite changes

  • difficulty sleeping

  • aches and pains

  • lack of energy and fatigue

  • inability to concentrate

  • social withdrawal

7. Atypical depression

temporarily goes away in response to positive events..

Despite its name, atypical depression isn’t unusual or rare. It also doesn’t mean that it’s more or less serious than other types of depression.

Having atypical depression can be particularly challenging because you may not always “seem” depressed to others (or yourself). But it can also happen during an episode of major depression. It can occur with persistent depression as well.

Other symptoms of atypical depression can include:

  • increased appetite and weight gain

  • disordered eating

  • poor body image

  • sleeping much more than usual

  • insomnia

  • heaviness in your arms or legs that lasts an hour or more a day

  • feelings of rejection and sensitivity to criticism

  • assorted aches and pains

How do I know which type I have?

If you think you might have any type of depression, it’s important to follow up with a doctor. All depression types discussed here are treatable, though it might take some time to find the right treatment for you.

If you’ve had a previous bout of depression and think it may be happening again, seek help right away.

If you’ve never had depression before, start with your GP. Some symptoms of depression can be related to an underlying physical condition that should be addressed.

Try to give your doctor as much information about your symptoms as you can. If possible, mention:

  • when you first noticed them

  • how they’ve affected your daily life

  • any other mental health conditions you have

  • any information about a history of mental illness in your family

  • all prescription and over-the-counter medications you take, including supplements and herbs

It might feel uncomfortable, but try to tell your doctor everything. This will help them give you a more accurate diagnosis and refer you to the right type of mental health professional

Counselling works by working through all the various different contributing factors and dealing with any emotional issues which have not been looked at before, coming into therapy can help by talking through everything. When working with depression it can take some time and requires commitment but huge improvements can be achieved.


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