I'm always sad

Sometimes people feel sad or down for a long time. Find out about the different causes of ongoing sadness, find out how to recognise when it becomes a problem, and find out what you can do to handle ongoing sad feelings.

This can help if:

  • You can’t feel happy
  • You’re always down
  • You feel like you can’t change how you feel
boy with hat looking down

What it means when you’re always feeling sad

Everyone feels sad and down at different times, but it can be hard to deal with when:

  • You can’t move past feeling sad
  • It’s impacting on other aspects of your life

Not everyone grows up learning how to handle things when we’re feeling really rubbish. It’s also something that people often feel ashamed or guilty about feeling, despite it being a really common emotion. Both things can make getting through feeling shit much harder.

Trying to pin down the different things that may be causing you to be sad is really important to helping you being able to move on from sad feelings. 

If you want to hear from others, watch this 3 minute video about young people coping with feeling stressed, anxious, worried or down. 

When feeling sad becomes a problem

It's completely normal to feel sad at different times, and it’s no problem that you do – as long as sad moments don’t happen too often or last too long. However, if you feel sad or down for an extended period of time, it is a bit of a worry. That’s because if you’re not dealing with your sad mood, and you’re bottling up your feelings, it could come out in ways you don’t expect.

The other thing to be aware of is that sometimes feeling crap for a while can be a sign that something more serious is going on. So, if you’ve been feeling down for a while, it’s important to try and work out the cause of your sadness.

What to do next

If you’ve been feeling sad or crap for a long time, it’s really important that you try and work out what could be causing it.

Speaking to someone you trust, like a friend or family member can be a good way of expressing your feelings. Counsellors are also a good idea. While you may be able to work it out on your own, speaking to a counsellor will make it much easier and quicker for you to identify why you are feeling like shit. They’ll also help you develop strategies to deal with the cause, and be able to tell you if something more serious is going on. It can be hard to know where to find the right support you need. ReachOut NextStep is an anonymous online tool that recommends relevant support options based on what you want help with. Try ReachOut NextStep to learn about the support options available for you.

What can I do now?

  • Don’t use alcohol and drugs as a way of coping.
  • Track your thoughts to work out what thoughts make you feel worse.
  • Don’t stay in bed and avoid things, try to get out and about.
  • Get personalised support options when you're feeling sad with the ReachOut NextStep tool.

Last reviewed: 24 March, 2016
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