During 2011, project researchers at Durham University conducted an on-line questionnaire asking people about their experiences of depression. It was developed in consultation with researchers from the UK mental health charity SANE. Click here to go to the questionnaire website (although it is now closed to new participants). We had over 140 completed questionnaires, and the responses provide unique insights into the nature of depression as described by sufferers themselves. In addition to asking participants about details of their specific diagnoses, age, and other details, the questionnaire gave the opportunity for people to respond to questions about how depression affected their experience of time, how it affects bodily feelings, relations with others and how depression changes the ability to think.
The principal part of the questionnaire posed the following 13 questions:
Describe your emotions and moods during those periods when you are depressed. In what ways are they different from when you are not depressed?
Does the world look different when you’re depressed? If so, how?
Do other people, including family and friends, seem different when you’re depressed? If so, how?
How does your body feel when you’re depressed?
How does depression affect your ability to perform routine tasks and other everyday activities?
When you are depressed, does time seem different to you? If so, how?
How, if at all, does depression affect your ability to think?
In what ways, if any, does depression make you think differently about life compared to when you are not depressed?
If you have taken medication for depression, what effect did it have?
Are there aspects of depression that you find particularly difficult to convey to others? If so, could you try as best you can to indicate what they are and why they are so hard to express.
What do you think depression is and what, in your view, caused your depression?
Who and/or what have you consulted in order to try to understand your depression? (E.g., medical practitioners, friends, books, internet sources, etc.).
If there are important aspects of your experience of depression not covered by this questionnaire please describe them here.