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Greyscale image of a boy sitting against a brick wall with his head on his knees

There are two main sorts of depression, the sort that comes from bad things happening outside of you and the sort that comes from inside you for no apparent reason.

From outside

  • 'My parents are splitting up'
  • 'My parents yell at each other all the time'
  • 'My mum's depressed'
  • 'I've been ill with flu for ages'
  • 'My mum's very sick'
  • 'I had a row with Mark last night. We're not friends anymore'
  • 'I'll never finish this coursework'

The outside sort is when something horrible happens outside of yourself, which makes life very difficult to cope with. Perhaps you fail your exams, or your parents start getting divorced, or a friend commits suicide - dreadful things that just make you want to curl up inside and cry for ever. This kind of depression is painful, but medically speaking, it is also a normal reaction. If you didn't feel pain, you wouldn't be human. Eventually, the biting sadness wears off as you talk to people about your feelings, as nicer things happen, as life just goes on. It's still there, like a scar, but it doesn't hurt so much.

From inside

  • 'I'm lonely - no one likes me'
  • 'I just can't face the outside world'
  • 'Nobody loves me'
  • 'What's it all for anyway?'
  • 'I feel tired all the time and I just don't feel like doing anything'
  • 'I'm a loser anyway - why bother?
  • 'My life is a mess. I can't make it work'
  • 'Why am I so crap?'
  • 'It's all my fault. Whatever I do, I hurt someone'

This kind of depression is when something collapses inside yourself. Gloom and greyness descend on your life for no obvious reason - everything might be fine, but you just can't see it that way. And if something slightly bad does happen, it feels like a crushing weight. This kind of depression is like an illness - like getting pneumonia or glandular fever. This depression is more difficult to cope with than the outside sort, and also takes longer to go away. For a few people, the depression is so severe that it controls every part of their life, and makes it seem as if it's not worth going on. If you can say to someone you trust, 'look, I don't know why, but I feel really, really down, and I need to talk to someone', then that is the first step away from this kind of depression.