It’s important to know the signs that a loved one might be depressed so that you can offer support to them. You cannot make a loved one do anything about their depression, but you can show them more care and concern so that you let them know what they mean to you, as well as offer them support for getting well if they ask for it.
They’re Sleeping a Lot – If someone who was formerly very active suddenly stops being active and starts sleeping their life away, a common culprit is depression. Some depressed people almost seem to have narcolepsy and will even fall asleep while they’re talking to you or when they are suffering from additional stress.
They Act Moodier Than Normal – Depression and anxiety can go together, causing your loved one to act moody. They may bite your head off for no reason. They may attack themselves or you due to the way that they feel. They might not even realize they’re doing it. If your loved one was normally easy to be around and suddenly is moody for a long period of time, suspect depression.
Small Things Cause Bigger Problems – When a person is already depressed, normally occurring daily events sometimes get under their skin more than they should. Something small gets blown out of proportion as a life-shattering event which can put everyone around the person on edge.
They Have Poor Eating Habits – Many depressed people self-medicate with food as a drug. They overeat, eat lots of carbs, snacks, processed food, and fast food. They often eat way too much at strange times of the day and night. Alternatively, some people do not eat enough food when they’re depressed and will lose weight.
They Aren’t Participating as Much as Normal – Many depressed people stop participating in activities they used to find fun. They don’t feel joy doing the same things they liked to do in the past, and it shows. They don’t talk or participate like the used to and seem to be separating from others.
They Have More Pain Than Normal – Depressed people don’t just feel sad in their mind. Their body often reacts by experiencing more pain than they used to. They may not have experienced anything that would cause the pain and they don’t have fibromyalgia or arthritis. They just have body aches and pains due to the depression.
They Are Ignoring Personal Hygiene – If your loved one used to dress nice and shower regularly but now seem to be ignoring basic hygiene, the reason could be depression. They just don’t care enough and don’t have the energy to expend to worry about showers, makeup, hairstyles and looking good.
They Are Self-Isolating – In addition to not going to normal activities, they start to isolate themselves from others, spending more and more time alone. They may go to their room all the time, or they may stay home and not participate in outings like they used to. Even at events they do attend, they may hide away and not socialize.
They Are Using a Lot of Drugs or Alcohol – Another sign of depression is drinking too much too often or using illegal or even prescription drugs inappropriately to try to bury their sadness. They may be missing work, school, or other important occasions due to their drug and alcohol use.
If a loved one is acting in destructive ways that make you scared they may harm themselves or others, the best thing to do is to talk them into getting help. Or, if it’s bad enough, some states allow anyone to request a 24-hour psychiatric evaluation and hold. However, depending on the type of insurance your loved one has, you may be on the hook for the costs. But, if it will prevent your loved one from harm it may be worth it. Otherwise, you can simply offer them a safe place to fall and be themselves while they heal and get better.