You wouldn’t recognize a cancer patient during the early stages especially if they haven’t started chemo. That you couldn’t identify it doesn’t mean it wasn’t there but simply because you did not know what signs/symptoms to watch out for. Almost the same case with some pregnancies, because of the female’s body structure, one would only know there was pregnancy after birth.
What comes to mind for most people when they hear about depression is a better-looking hermit if that isn’t much of an exaggeration. We imagine it would be a person with swollen eyes worn out from crying, always indoors, slightly insane, soliloquizes, no fashion sense, dirty, or always moody.
I hate to break it to you, but you’re living in a Hollywood movie. Even though that might be slightly true to some extent which is quite noticeable symptoms, but that isn’t the case most of the time. You need to understand depression can happen to anyone irrespective of their belief, color, status, age, worth, or location. Which signs can then help in discovering when depression is lurking?
There are visible and not so visible signs, but before I discuss it let me ask you this. If you do observe these symptoms in someone close to you, what would you do? Gossip, Help out, or Show concern? It’s better to not have known than to know and take it lightly or ignore. Reach out and help and if you are unsure of how to help, refer them.
1. Wanting your own space: Really not a symptom you would easily notice, but someone dealing with depression would most times prefer to be alone than to interact with others. There is a chance that they might have suicidal thoughts or not. Nonetheless, it just becomes hard to express their feelings to people around without being judged.
2. Anxiety: Anxiety usually leads to overreaction and it might not be in relation to the person but to people around them. Say I lost my best friend to electric shock and I’ve been down, anxiety would show the depression by me overreacting when I see someone else doing anything around electricity. I’d be like; No don’t touch that, or be careful and stuffs like that.
3. Taking Unnecessary Risks: When depression becomes really serious, life doesn’t make meaning and suicidal thoughts plague the mind. There is no safety consciousness, the person in question might look normal but watch out for unnecessary risks. Crossing the road without caution, working without PPE, and claiming nothing would happen.
4. Mood: A very visible sign of depression, always sad, not very chatty, sore eyes, and lacking appetite. Occasional mood swings.
5. Weight Gain/Loss: I can’t overemphasize how much depression bothers the mind, but one should take note if you’ve got someone who began eating too much or little. Depending on the individual that just might be how they’re dealing with it.
6. Interest: It goes both ways, they might become more or less interested. Losing interest because there is just no point in anything anymore. If they try to do something they used to love doing, they ask; what is the point? Picking up interests in a number of things is the individual trying to suppress the depression.
7. Lacking self-confidence: When depression kicks in, morale gets low and they no longer put effort into anything as they used to. If a desire or want is met fine if it isn’t fine.
8. Sleeping: I know what you’re thinking, how does sleeping mean someone is depressed? Can I sleep in peace again? Really, if someone you knew to be a proactive person begins to develop an irregular sleeping pattern, take note. Sleeping is a very visible sign cause it becomes preferable to sleep than to accommodate the voices in the head. And some other times, no sleeping at all.
9. Social Media: No one likes to be depressed and sometimes, they try to cry for help in a subtle way so people don’t stigmatize or ridicule them. In recent months, people who committed suicide after months of depression had left some hints on their social media accounts. So please watch out for unusual posts.
Please note that sometimes it isn’t all who posts about depression that is dealing with it, they’re just posting. Nevertheless, I reckon that you still reach out and be sure. As the old adage says “it is better to be safe than sorry.”
Don’t forget that anyone at any point in time can experience depression so don’t think that because you’re not, you should ridicule or make jokes about people who are. It is your responsibility as a human to be an embodiment of love and hope. If you have in the past, please don’t make fun of a person’s emotional health