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Anxious, depressed or just in a low mood?

We often end up using terms interchangeably to describe a not-so-happy state of mind. But what’s the difference really and when should we seek help, and from whom? We tackle these questions in this edition of Curiocity Central. 

What is a low mood?

A mood describes the way one is feeling at a particular time. If we feel happy, we are in a good mood. If we feel sad, angry or irritable we are in a bad or a low mood. It is normal to have a low mood from time to time. Usually, a low mood is caused by our life events such as a fight with a friend or a difficult exam or a change in our daily routines. Sometimes we may also be feeling tired, exhausted, frustrated or lacking confidence in situations that lead to a low mood. 

  • A low or bad mood usually passes after a couple of hours or days. There are several things you can do to help improve your mood.
  • Do something you usually enjoy to break the low mood  
  • Talk to someone 
  • Get good sleep 
  • Play the music you love 
  • A little outdoor activity 
  • Challenge the negative thoughts in your mind (is what I am thinking really true?) 

Also, check out this really informative video on Depression and Anxiety below: ( article below video) 

What is depression?

Depression is the state of feeling sad over a long period of time and begins to interfere with your day-to-day activities. There are many signs of depression that distinguish it from a low mood. These include 

  • Losing interest in things you used to enjoy 
  • Feeling sad or anxious all the time
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • Feeling tired even after sleeping 
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and helplessness 

Depression can be caused due to a number of factors. It could be caused by:

  • Hereditary reasons (having blood relatives who have depression) 
  • A major life-changing event or trauma (sickness or death in the family)
  • Facing a long persisting difficult situation (such as bullying or harassment)

Depression is very common and can be addressed with the help of a professional. The most important thing is to not self-diagnose and treat. But to speak to a mental health professional who will work with you on what’s causing depression for you and then work on reducing and removing it. As a teenager, your first step should be to talk to your parents, your school counsellor or another trusted adult about your feelings, who can then get you the professional help you may need.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a feeling of nervousness, worry, and tension over events that are about to come. Anxiety is a natural response of our body to stressful situations. For example, we may feel anxious on the day of an exam or ahead of a school presentation. 

Anxiety can caused due to a variety of factors such as: 

  • Facing a situation in front of too many people (such as a presentation, known as social anxiety)
  • Being worried that bad things will happen in future (general anxiety) 
  • Being worried about being away from loved ones (separation anxiety) 

Some level of anxiety is good for us as it helps us cope with the situation, like an exam. This is known as healthy anxiety. Feelings of such anxiety usually pass with the passing of the event. 

But if you continue to worry over situations it could be classified as unhealthy or unhelpful anxiety. 

Again, you should talk to your parents or a trusted adult about what’s causing you anxiety and get their help in addressing the cause of anxiety. For example, if you are finding it difficult to cope with a very busy schedule, then your parents can help you reduce some of the activities or help you manage your time better. Healthy food, some regular physical activity, getting enough sleep, having set routines and talking to friends and family helps with reducing anxiety. 

But if the feelings persist for longer periods and interfere with other daily activities, this may be an anxiety disorder. In such a situation, talk to your parents or guardian who can then consult a psychologist or a counsellor who can help you manage the feelings of anxiety with the help of therapy. 

 The information in this article has been sourced from cdc.gov and nhs.uk. If you feel that you are experiencing signs of depression, reach out to a trusted adult.  Do not self-diagnose, self-treat or use Google to try out any remedies.

Photo: Shutterstock/AJP/Person in the photo is a model, names changed.

Do you have any questions that are bothering you? Share with us in the comments box below. Remember no rude words or personal information in the comment box! 
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