How To Watch Out For Signs of Depression in Loved Ones

Depression is a touchy subject. But noticing signs of depression in a loved one can help them get the help they need.

Seeing a loved one go through depression can be a very distressing experience. But what if you don't even notice their depression in the first place? The thought of not being there for your loved ones when they need you the most is heartbreaking to say the least. We all have our own set of daily struggles. This can cause us to unknowingly miss out on the little pleas of help left by our loved ones who might be quietly suffering. Knowing what signs you should look out for can allow you to provide the right help at the right time.

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Signs to look out for:

When a friend or a family member goes through depression you might expect them to approach you for help. But this isn't always the case. They could simply be in denial. Or maybe they're held back by shame and fear of dragging you into their struggles. So watch out for these common signs: 

  • Fatigue
  • Appetite and weight changes
  • Changes in sleep habits
  • Low energy
  • A loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy
  • Having bad hygiene and not caring for themselves
  • Hopelessness

You won't expect it but your loved one may be hiding these signs behind a smile. If you want to have their back then make sure you take a closer look! Check up on your loved ones regularly and always be on the lookout for these signs.

 

What should you do if you think a loved one is secretly suffering from depression?

The road to recovering from depression can be a long one. Professional assistance is highly recommended as depression is complex and specific to the individual. That being said, they'll still need the help of others! Here are some tips that can help you offer the best care and support:

Show them you're willing to help by talking to them and trying to make them open up.

Talk. Express your concerns especially if you think they might have suicidal thoughts. Contrary to popular belief, talking about your suicide concerns isn't going to "put the idea in their head" or encourage it. Especially if it's discussed in an appropriate manner.

Try to take the initiative by offering to cook a nutritious meal together or going for a walk together instead of giving them generic advice they probably won't listen to like "just eat healthy food and exercise regularly."

Don't try fixing them. Dealing with depression requires patience, so don't make them feel like they need any fixing. Depression is a medical condition that can't be treated by saying a few over-simplified phrases like "just ignore the stuff that makes you sad". Instead, shower them with love and care so they can recover in a loving and healthy environment.

Don't leave them out no matter what. Even if you're sure that they won't accept your gathering invitations, make sure you still invite them so they feel included instead of feeling left out.

Help them seek professional advice by suggesting they see a mental health professional and offering to take them to their session if they feel comfortable with you doing so.

Stay in touch. Depressed individuals may try to avoid reaching out so make sure you check on them and make them feel cared for.

Depression is a real threat that anyone can face. We can protect our loved ones by keeping a close eye on their mental health state. Beyond the pain and agony it can bring to a victim, someone suffering from depression has an increased risk of committing suicide. If you think someone you know has suicidal thoughts then make sure they seek professional advice. 

 

References:

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/depression/depression-symptoms-and-warning-signs.htm

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