We all feel sad or lethargic every now and then. And we have all felt down or even desperate at some point in our lives. These phases are a normal part of life, and people usually feel better again after a while. Things are different for people who have depression. Their sadness and negative thoughts last longer and overshadow all of their thoughts and actions. Depression can arise without any triggering events or for no apparent reason. People often feel like they're stuck in a deep, dark hole. They feel cheerless, worthless, and lack motivation and self-confidence. This can make it difficult to do everyday things like going to work or studying. Friends, family and hobbies are often neglected. They don't sleep well.
Depression can also make family and friends feel worried, anxious and helpless. Often they want to help but don't know how. It's not always easy for them to tell whether it's a passing phase or a serious illness.