The Lowdown
30 June 2022 • 5 min read


Sometimes life just sucks. It’s like you’re wading through mud – it’s heavy, it clings to you and weighs you down, making even simple actions like taking a step feel incredibly tough.

A person wearing a red and black hoodie, looking down, covering the top half of their face in the dark.

It’s normal to go through ups and downs and at times to feel sad and heavy, but depression is when that feeling of heavy sadness doesn’t go away. Instead it lasts longer, may get worse and often won’t get better without help. It can affect your ability to do everyday things, feel pleasure or take interest in activities. You may find it really hard to get out of bed in the morning or to do simple things like brushing your teeth, sending a text or going outside. Sometimes there are triggers for depression such as a break up, school stress, losing a loved one, social isolation, medication, family history and so on. You can also become depressed for no reason at all.

Depression is different for everyone but there are some common symptoms and feelings:

  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Feeling hopeless/like a failure
  • Struggling to do things that used to be a normal part of your life
  • Feelings of anger and irritability
  • Feeling guilty
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Struggling to concentrate
  • Having low self-esteem
  • Avoiding other people
  • Struggling in your home or school life
  • Not wanting to do the things that you used to enjoy
  • Feeling anxious or worried
  • Having thoughts of harming yourself

If you’re feeling alone or too embarrassed to talk to someone about how you’re feeling, know that depression isn’t something to be ashamed of – 1 in every 7 Kiwi rangatahi is going through it with you. Conquering sadness or depression takes effort, and you shouldn’t try to do it alone.

We often tell ourselves that if we talk to someone, they will think we’re exaggerating our problems, being silly or giving them a burden to deal with. The thing is, this is almost never true! People care a lot more than we give them credit for, and if you speak to someone about what you’re struggling with, you’re likely to find that you have unlocked the bonus of a caring supportive person who will help you get through your tough times.

It’s important to note that sometimes the person you talk to may not offer you the help and support you need, but don’t give up there. Try again with someone else – your struggles are important and just because someone doesn’t listen or give you the help you need doesn’t mean what you’re facing isn’t real. The sooner you start getting help, the sooner you will start feeling better.

Where to get help

If you’re thinking about harming yourself or are having suicidal thoughts, call Lifeline on 0508 82 88 65 now to talk to someone who cares and can support you.

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