Just Feeling Sad or Having Depression?

Do you feel sad and hopeless? Experiencing low energy and lack of motivation most of the time? Will this feeling ever pass? Or could it be depression? While sadness does not always means depression, but prolonged and unmanaged sadness might eventually leads to depression. Let’s find out more..


Depression is a state of emotion where one’s mood is predominantly depressed or one has markedly loss of interest nearly every day. Besides that, those who are having depression could be experiencing self-worthlessness, tiredness, or disturbed sleep and appetite. Another symptom to be cautious is having recurrent suicidal ideation. There are several types of clinical depression:

Major Depression

Having distinctive symptoms of depression for a couple of weeks, which have also impaired one’s various areas of functioning.

Persistent Depressive Disorder

Having a long standing depressed mood for more than a couple of years. However, the symptoms met are less severe compared to Major Depression

Bipolar Disorder

Having a fluctuating mood where one experiences elevated mood and depressed mood in alternating sequences.

Peripartum Depression

Experiencing depressed mood during pregnancy or soon after delivery.​


The following are some symptoms of depression. Do seek for professional consultation if you match 4 or more of the checklist. However, these are not diagnostic criteria.

  •  Feeling sad or “empty”
  • Feeling hopeless, irritable, anxious, or guilty
  • Loss of interest in favourite activities
  • Feeling very tired
  •  Not being able to concentrate or remember details
  • Not being able to sleep, or sleeping too much
  •  Overeating, or not wanting to eat at all
  •  Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
  •  Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems.​


 Going through grief and loss

  • Facing a major life event, such as of relationship, career, serious medical illnesses and accident.
  • Experiencing changes in phases of life, such as teenager, midlife crisis.
  • Having family histories of mood disorder.
  • During pregnancy or within a month after pregnancy.
  • Certain personality traits such as perfectionists, pessimistic, ruminating on sorrow, and low self-esteem.
  • Drug and alcohol abuse may trigger depressive mood. 


Sign of suicide, such as giving away precious belonging, repeatedly saying about suicide, anniversary day, saying goodbye suddenly, asking someone to take care of loves one when he/she is not around.

Provide help by bringing him/her to a mental health profession such as a counsellor, clinical psychologist or psychiatrist.

If you have suicidal ideation, immediately call Befrienders 24-Hour hotline: (+60) 03-7956 8144/ 8145


Social support

  • Having a social life will help you to get the support you need from your family, friends and community.
  • It prevents you from facing your problems alone, feeling loneliness or hopelessness.


  • Learning about your own habits of thinking, feeling and behaviour.
  • Methods such as reading, discussing with someone, attending workshops, meditation and so on.

Healthy lifestyle

  • Having regular sleep and meals.
  • Daily physical exercise, even by walking fast for 15 minutes has many benefits to your body and mind.
  • Planning for some self-care and leisure activities from time to time to allow yourself to relax and rejuvenate.

Changing your habits of thought

  • Cognitive distortions which contribute to depression, such as personalization, emotion reasoning and mental filtering, etc.
  • Reprocess your thinking habits in order to be aware of individual’s cognitive distortions and reframe these to functional thoughts.


Psychotherapy/ Counselling

  • ​​It helps by teaching new ways of thinking and behaving, and changing habits that may be contributing to the depression.
  • Therapy can help you understand and work through difficult relationships or situations that may be causing your depression or making it worse.

Medical treatment

  • Medication which regulates the chemical imbalance in the brain. It may come with some side-effects, but new type of medication has fewer of those.

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)

  • ECT is a procedure, done under general anaesthesia, in which small electric currents are passed through the brain, intentionally triggering a brief seizure.
  • ECT relieves symptoms for those with severe depression and not responding well to medicines and psychotherapy.

Downloadable Fact Sheet

Download fact sheet (pdf)
Depression Fact Sheet
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