You may be depressed if, for more than two weeks, you've felt sad, down or miserable most of the time, or have lost interest or pleasure in usual activities, and have also experienced several of the signs and symptoms across at least three of the categories below:
Mental health

• not going out anymore • not getting things done at work/school • withdrawing from close family and friends • relying on alcohol and sedatives • not doing usual enjoyable activities • unable to concentrate


• overwhelmed • guilty • irritable • frustrated • lacking in confidence • unhappy • indecisive • disappointed • miserable • sad


• '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.'


• tired all the time • sick and run down • headaches and muscle pains • churning gut • sleep problems • loss or change of appetite • significant weight loss or gain

What you can do...

If you think that you or someone you know may be experiencing depression, completing the following checklist is a quick, easy and confidential way to give you more insight. The checklist won’t provide a diagnosis – for that you’ll need to see a health professional – but it can help to guide you and provide a better understanding of how you’re feeling:

People with bipolar disorder experience extreme highs and lows. In a high (manic) state, people may behave in an over-excited or reckless way. Everything speeds up – their thoughts, speech and movements – and they may have difficulty focusing on tasks or feel frustrated and irritable. The symptoms of a low or depressed state are the same as those for people experiencing depression. These include feeling low or sad, withdrawing from friends and family, and losing interest in previously enjoyable activities.

What causes bipolar disorder?

While the causes of bipolar disorder are not fully known, a combination of genetic and other factors are usually associated with its development. As with other mental health conditions, a family history of bipolar disorder can increase the likelihood of someone developing the condition at some point in their life.

Two faces

“My brain has gone at a thousand miles an hour. I’ve had periods in my life when I virtually couldn’t sleep at night…because my brain was going mad. Not mad, it was creative. Millions of thoughts, millions of ideas.”

Into the Storm
Recognising a manic state:

• Increased energy • Irritability • Overactivity • Increased spending • Increased sex drive • Racing thoughts • Rapid speech • Decreased sleep • Grandiose ideas • Hallucinations and/or delusions

Recognising a depressed state:

• Low mood • Irritability • Loss or change of appetite • Lack of motivation • Low self-esteem • Sleep disturbance • Suicidal thoughts • Difficulty managing small tasks or making simple decisions​

© Spencer Street Psychology 2021
All rights reserved.