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FEELING “blue” very often is common to all of us, but it eventually passes. It’s not to be confused with depression which is a common, serious, but treatable illness.

Maybe you’ve messed up at work and lost an important contract, or you’ve put on kilos instead of losing them on a diet. Your best friend is angry at you or your girlfriend has just broken up with you. Now you feel like there’s no tomorrow, you’re “down in the dumps” and don’t think things can get any worse.

All these are normal feelings and they can disappear after a good night’s sleep. Depression is a different kettle of fish.

What differentiates “the blues” from depression is the duration of symptoms. Someone who’s feeling “blue” today may be feeling better a few days later. The difference with depression is that sadness or the “blues” don’t go away, it persists for two weeks or longer. Sometimes a traumatic event like a hijacking or loss of a loved one could be the reason why someone feels depressed.

Depending on the severity of the symptoms, a counsellor, psychologist or psychiatrist will help you work through your feelings and offer treatment. Symptoms of depression include irritability, loss of interest in activities you previously enjoyed, disturbed sleep, loss of appetite and thoughts of suicide.

You can check your mental health by completing a questionnaire on the South African Depression and Anxiety Group’s website,

  • For more information call 0800 12 13 14 or SMS line: 31393.

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