Signs and symptoms of depression

Depression affects different people in many different ways. It can be a numbness or emptiness where you don’t feel happy, sad or angry.

Sometimes depression can feel like irritation or frustration. Small issues suddenly feel big.

Sometimes you might lose enjoyment in things that would normally make you happy. You might feel like there’s nothing to look forward to.

Person supporting their friend in the rain

How does depression feel?

If any of these examples feel familiar, or if you just don’t feel okay, it’s worth talking to someone. Depression is treatable with the right support.

If you or someone close to you has been diagnosed with depression the signs and symptoms listed on this page may be part of the condition. 

Behaviour

Depression can look like:

  • not going out anymore
  • not getting things done at work or school
  • withdrawing from close family and friends
  • relying on alcohol and sedatives
  • not doing usual enjoyable activities
  • unable to concentrate
I was not motivated to do anything… Being out of the house would make me feel confused and my heart would race.

Read Sandi’s experience of post-natal depression

Feelings

Depression can make you feel:

  • overwhelmed or indecisive
  • guilty
  • irritable or frustrated
  • lacking in confidence
  • unhappy or disappointed
  • miserable or sad
I had all the symptoms. I was getting angry and disassociated from my work. I didn’t want to do the work, I was desperate for a rest.

Read Geoff’s experience of work stress and depression

Thoughts

When you have depression you might think:

  • 'I’m a failure.'
  • 'It’s my fault.'
  • 'Nothing good ever happens to me.'
  • 'I’m worthless.'
  • 'Life’s not worth living.'
  • 'People would be better off without me.'

Suicidal thoughts

Sometimes people who are experiencing depression may also experience suicidal thoughts. To learn more visit Suicidal warning signs.

[I thought that] If I failed, it’s because I was useless and had nothing to offer.

Read Jake’s story of anxiety, depression and therapy

Physical symptoms

Physical symptoms of depression can include:

  • feeling tired all the time
  • feeling sick and run down
  • headaches and muscle pains
  • stomach pain, butterflies or churning gut
  • sleep problems
  • loss or change of appetite
  • significant weight loss or gain
My depression made me want to sleep all the time.

Read Emily’s story of depression, anxiety and ultimately, hope

Do I have depression?

It can be hard to know whether you’re feeling depressed or have depression.

Our anonymous mental health check-in can help you understand whether your symptoms are likely to go away on their own, or whether it’s time to get more support to help you feel better.

It’s an evidence-based tool which asks you 10 questions about the feelings you’ve been having over the past 4 weeks. It’s sometimes called the “K10” and is widely used by GPs and mental health professionals.

Mental health check-in

Finding mental health support

Your GP can be a good place to start the conversation about your mental health.

We can also help you find other support that’s right for you. This could include talking to our counsellors or helping you find a mental health professional near you.

Get mental health support

Connect with our online peer support community

Anonymously read, share and learn from people who are also living with anxiety.  

The Beyond Blue Forums is a welcoming peer support community. Posts are moderated by qualified counsellors.

Visit the Beyond Blue Forum depression discussions 

Supporting someone else

If you’re worried about someone close to you, there are things you can do to support them.