Talking Depression: Understanding your journey through depression

Understanding your journey through depression

Depression is an invisible, yet identifiable and treatable illness. A person living with mild depression might experience a variety of symptoms.

Depression Symptoms:

  • Feelings of sadness
  • Lack of interest or pleasure in activities
  • Changes to sleeping patterns
  • Trouble thinking or concentrating
  • Suicidal thoughts

From the outside it can be difficult to see the impact depression is having on a person.

Severe depression is diagnosed when a person experiences at least five symptoms of depression, as listed above, which causes them significant distress almost every day for at least a fortnight.1

If you are living with severe depression, you may feel isolated and find it difficult to speak openly about how you are feeling. It’s common to worry that others won’t understand you or will look at you differently if you do share your feelings. It can seem like you are the only person who is feeling this way. However, depression is much more common than you may think.

In Ireland, it is estimated that approximately 150,000 people per year are living with severe depression.

It is important to note that, most people who seek help successfully find ways to cope with their depression.4 With the right support, you could also find a way to prevent depression from limiting your enjoyment of everyday life. To learn more about building your support network, visit here

There isn’t one fixed way out of depression

It is easy to think that a single solution can solve the challenges you face. However, depression is complex5 and it is as unique as you are. Everyone’s approach and experience are different but, in many cases, having supportive conversations with your doctor or another healthcare professional (e.g. nurse, psychologist) is a crucial step.6

Diagnosis is an important first step to get the help you need. By speaking to a HCP about your depression, you can give yourself the best opportunity to connect with the right support.7

There are no wrong turns

Everyone is affected by depression differently and what works for one person might not work for another. In fact, multiple steps are often needed before people living with depression start to notice an improvement in their symptoms. Some people may need to attend several medical appointments to get a diagnosis or try a number of treatments or medications at different doses before finding the one that works for them.

Understanding your journey

Depression is a serious and complex condition, and your feelings are not your fault. Depression can happen to anyone, no matter what you have going on in your life – it is nothing to be ashamed of. Depression is not a choice and cannot be easily overcome just by ‘trying hard enough’. Depression can have a serious impact on every part of a person’s life and therefore needs the right treatment and care.8

Your experience of depression may vary depending on different factors:

  • the type of depression
  • any contributing health conditions
  • the type of treatment prescribed

Staying on track

Obstacles or complications may temporarily prevent you from making the progress you had planned. You might experience a bad day when your depression symptoms return or need to talk to your doctor about changing medications. You might find that some things work, and others might not. This can feel frustrating at times, but each step forward brings you closer to managing your condition.

Providing honest feedback to your medical team about your successes or challenges can help to tailor your care.

If something doesn’t work for you, remember there’s no right or wrong – it’s just another step towards finding your own way out of depression.

You may be interested in

Diagnosing depression and preparing for appointments
Treatment Options for Depression
Building your support network while coping with depression
  1. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.
  2. CSO, Irish Health Survey 2015, see ‘Table 6: All persons aged 15 years and over classified by mental health status in previous two weeks, 2015’. 3% of respondents reporting as experiencing moderately severe or severe depression is estimated MDD patient population. Estimated 150,000 people with MDD is 3% of projected population in 2020 (4.98m). Available at: Accessed: January 2024.
  3. Patient research on major depressive disorder carried out by Ipsos MRBI between 2nd October – 3rd November 2020 on behalf of Janssen Sciences Ireland.
  4. American Psychiatric Association. What is depression? Available at: Accessed: January 2024.
  5. Mental Health Foundation. Depression. Available at: Accessed: January 2024.
  6. Mental Health Foundation. How to talk to your GP about your mental health. Available at: Accessed: January 2024.
  7. NHS. Treatment – Clinical Depression. Available at: Accessed: January 2024.
  8. Lepine JP and Briley M. The increasing burden of depression. Neuropsychiatric Dis Treat 2011;7(suppl 1):3–7