Depression & Mood

Whilst everyone faces low mood and sadness at times, depression is a mental health condition in which an individual experiences intensely low mood, for a prolonged period of time (weeks or months), often without knowing why. In other cases, depression may have an identifiable cause, or may be the combination of several life events or continuing difficulties. Depression is one of the most common mental health problems, with one in five people in Australia experiencing depression at some stage in their lives. Without seeking help, depression is unlikely to improve or disappear on its own. However, depression is very treatable, and there are a wide range of options to combat depression and maintain your wellbeing long-term.

If you’ve experienced extremely low mood, more often than not, for at least two weeks, seek advice from one of our psychologists here at VCPS. Whilst low mood alone may not necessarily mean you have depression, it is important to seek help early and try to improve your mood where possible. Tackling your low mood is crucial in order to maximise your ability to cope with life’s daily challenges and thrive within all aspects of your life, including relationships, work or study.

So, how do I know if I have depression?

Depression is characterised by low mood and is considered to be a serious illness when:

  • The depressive mood state is severe
  • It lasts for 2 weeks or more
  • It interferes with one’s ability to function at home or work

Depression can affect your thoughts, behaviours, feelings, and physical well-being. Common signs which may indicate you have depression include:

  • Changes in your behaviour, such as: being unable to enjoy hobbies or activities, lacking motivation, withdrawing from family and friends , not wanting to socialise, and losing interest in various aspects of your life
  • Negative feelings and less control over your emotions. For example, you may feel empty, numb, hopeless, overwhelmed, guilty, insecure, angry or irritable, impatient, miserable, or tearful
  • Reduced pain tolerance
  • Lack of sex drive
  • Lowered self-esteem and self-worth
  • Poor concentration and memory
  • Experiencing repetitive, negative thoughts such as ‘I do everything wrong’
  • Physical disturbances including: constantly feeling tired, change in appetite, losing or gaining weight , sleep disturbance , or becoming run down

The psychologists at VCPS are specialised in providing help. A psychologist may help by:

  • Teaching you to explore your negative thought patterns and challenge them
  • Identifying the contributing factors to your experience of depression and ways to manage them
  • Improve your ability to cope with stressors and set backs
  • Providing emotional support and understanding
  •  Providing you with knowledge about depression and helping to identify the best course of treatment