Jesy Nelson: Fighting depression

We can all feel a little bit down sometimes because, there’s no denying it, life can be tough. When things aren’t quite going your way, or you have a lot of worry on your shoulders, it’s normal to feel blue. But usually, given a bit of time, we’ll start to feel alright again and bounce back. If someone’s low mood continues for a long time though, or is so severe that it starts to get in the way of them living a normal life, this is 'depression'.

What causes depression?

There is no single cause of depression – it can vary from person to person. In our video, Jesy shares that she was most depressed when she was being bullied online for the way that she looks, but people can become depressed for all sorts of reasons.

Symptoms of depression can vary too. In her video on body image, Jesy shared that when she was at her lowest she felt embarrassed and ashamed: "It got so bad to the point where I couldn’t even bring myself to get out of bed in the morning and I just stopped turning up for work."

In her documentary, Jesy talks about how her depression "just spiralled out of control." She describes her depression as "like constantly feeling heartbroken." Her band mate, Jade Thirlwall, says they didn’t know what to do: "we just had to watch this amazing, funny girl become a bit like a broken doll – it was horrible."

Not being able to face everyday activities like this is a sign of depression. Some other tell-tale signs are:

  • A lack of interest in things you once enjoyed
  • Being irritable or short-tempered
  • Sleeping significantly more or less than usual
  • Feeling hopeless or worthless
  • Low energy or feeling extremely tired

Just because you have one or more of these symptoms, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re depressed. However, if you think that you, or someone close to you, might be depressed, the first thing to do is to talk about it.

What helps?

The first step, as Jesy says, is to talk about it. In fact, counselling is often prescribed as part of the treatment for depression. Jesy found that talking really helped her when she felt low, as she explains:

If you just keep it in and don’t talk to anyone about it, you’re just gonna make yourself worse. Suffering in silence doesn’t help at all.

Jesy talks to a group of young people about their experiences of cyber-bullying.

It's becoming much more common to speak openly about mental health, and countless high-profile celebrities have started to open up and share their experiences.

“When I was younger, we never ever spoke about depression,” says Jesy, “and I think it’s so good and so important now that we are talking more about it.”

Everyone experiences low moods from time to time, even pop stars, so don’t shy away from the conversation - talking to others about what you're going through can be really useful.

Where to find support

If you think you might be depressed, it’s really important to tell someone you trust and to make an appointment to see a doctor. Talking is one way forward, but there are also other ways to treat depression ranging from exercise, to mindfulness, to medication. Your GP will be able to advise you on the appropriate course of action for you.

There’s also a lot of information available online about depression, the symptoms and where to get help. To get started, take a look at the Bitesize Support mental health pages. You could begin by reading:

You could also visit Young Minds, CALM and Childline.

Jesy Nelson: Living with anxiety
Jesy Nelson: Learning to love myself
Jesy Nelson: Fighting depression