The people closest to us, can often hide in plain sight. It is easy for people to be so in tune and friendly with strangers and be completely unaware of our family, friends, neighbors and coworker’s emotional wellbeing. Ignoring this means we sometimes do not notice the changes in mood and behaviors.
Depression is often characterized by a sad or depressed mood for large part of the day. It shows uniquely in different people, it can also be episodic or recurrent. The behaviors associated with grief, loss of job or a bad breakup can mirror depression symptoms. Its important to remember people are allowed to have shifts in their moods, however when the hopelessness doesn’t seem to go away, we may need to get help if it last for two or more weeks.
So, you may be asking yourself, how can I notice it? It’s not like people are going to walk around with a rain cloud over their head. The following are some helpful tips that will assit in determining if your loved one may be affected by depression.
Notice when they don’t show up or absent from regularly scheduled activities. Does your bestie, like to always bike in the park and have not been attending her biking club group, it may be some cause for concern.
Hygiene when people are in despair its difficult for them to clean themselves, their home, anything. Does your coworker suddenly look disheveled and unshaven, check in with them.
Suicide or self-harm. Having recurrent thoughts or suicide or self-harm is a red flag and immediate attention should be sought out.
Fatigue is another sign something may be wrong. With children and adolescents this may show as irritability. Significant changes in sleeping pattern is also a symptom as well.
If your loved one is displaying any of these symptoms, now may be the time to check in with them. It’s important to be a listening ear, NOT the time to be on your soap box! If they want to are ready to talk, listen, if they’re are not ready don’t push. You can always suggest or refer them to a trained professional.
D. Wrencher, M.Ed.