When we think of our loved ones as being depressed, we might think of outward signs such as sleeping too much or rarely leaving the home. However, these are not the only signs that we need to watch for when it comes to our loved ones and depression.
Living with depression can be one of the most painful experiences we undergo as humans. While it is normal, natural, and an important human experience, it can be overwhelming and dangerous sometimes. When this happens, it is time to reach out for help. These are five signs your loved one is depressed.
#1 — Mood
One clear sign that your loved one is dealing with serious depression is that they are always down, sad, or out of sorts. They wake up sad, they mope around, and they struggle to find joy. We all have days like this, but when in serious depression, this sad mood can persist for days or weeks at a time. If you notice that your loved one is consistently feeling down and always in a dark place mentally, it may be time to take action to help.
#2 — Joy
Too depressed to do anything? Another common sign of clinical depression is when your loved one is no longer interested in things that they used to be interested in. They may give up activities, hobbies, and events that used to excite them. They may ignore friends and family members that used to light them up and make them happy.
Remember Eeyore from Winnie-the-Pooh? That general mopiness and sadness experienced on a daily basis is a great indication that someone is suffering from depression and not just having a couple of bad days. Signs of depression in women and men are often similar and if you notice your loved one pulling back from things they once loved to do, pay attention.
#3 — Insomnia
Another indicator of depression is insomnia. When people have a hard time falling asleep, staying asleep, or find themselves consistently waking up too early, this can be a sign of depression. Some people who experience insomnia also do not want to get out of bed. They may stay in bed for most of the day or not stumble out of the bedroom until mid-afternoon. They also may not want to leave the house for long periods of time and spend days at home without ever going out.
#4 — Difficulty Concentrating
If you notice that your loved one is having a difficult time concentrating, this is a sign of depression. You might notice that they cannot hold a conversation or make plans or decisions, which are also signs of depression. It might be hard to figure out what they want to eat for dinner or what they want to watch on TV. Even the most minuscule decisions can be threatening and overwhelming.
#5 — Suicidal Behavior
One of the most disturbing components and obvious signs of depression in your loved one is anything to do with suicide from suicidal ideation and suicidal thoughts to suicidal threats. Always, and I mean always, take these thoughts, words, and threats seriously. Never underestimate the real threat of suicide. If you think it is possible that they are in danger, call for help. You have lots of options when calling for help including calling the suicide hotline (800-273-8255) and 9-1-1.
Do not shy away from these discussions with your loved one. They can be disturbing and it’s very normal to want to avoid it, but try to resist that urge. Instead, bring it up. “How are your thoughts about suicide today?” “Have you had more urges to kill yourself?” It can be difficult to ask these things, but not talking about it can put your loved one at risk.
For more information on how you can help your loved ones with depression, reach out for a consultation with one of our licensed therapists. If your loved one is struggling with feeling depressed for no reason or too depressed to do anything, we are here to help.