Sometimes depression is a reaction to a life event, such as the end of a relationship, bereavement (see Coping with Bereavement) or job loss. It is normal to experience a period of sadness after such events, but sometimes this sadness is prolonged, and may even affect someone more than the actual event that initially sparked the depression.
Depression is not always caused by an event and can appear to come from nowhere. Someone may appear to others to have everything going for them and yet still experience a bout of depression. Depression is usually thought to be characterised by feelings of sadness. However for some people it can involve a complete numbness of all feelings.
The duration and severity of depression varies, for some it may last weeks or months and for others it will last a year or more. For many people, feelings of depression will subside, however some will need to seek support. It can be difficult to seek assistance since some people blame themselves for the way they are feeling and try to cope alone. However, research shows that people who seek help are likely to overcome depression quicker than those who try to cope alone.