The term ' depressed' gets thrown around quite a lot without it actually being meant in its true form. However, the brilliant thing about the day and age we live in is that FINALLY depression and other mental illnesses are being spoken about. A LOT. More public figures are speaking about it whether it is regarding their own personal experiences or that of someone they are close to. The taboo is slowly and surely being broken. People are beginning to realise that just like any other part of the body the mind can break too.
It is hard enough suffering from the illness without having to face people who don't understand it or believe in it. I have older generation relatives who don't believe mental health illnesses exist and when I am feeling particularly bad I avoid them because their thoughts on depression frustrate me.
That being said, there are plenty of people out there who may not understand but desperately want to help. Not everyone is ignorant just because they don't get it. It is just as hard for relatives, friends or partners who have never suffered depression themselves and are dealing with someone close to them who does. What is most frustrating for both parties is that the signs of depression aren't always obvious and so loved ones don't always understand what is going on. Similarly with the sufferer, they may not know how to go about explaining they have depression or may not want to admit or even realise it.
Here I have given a quick summary, based on my own experience, as to what the telltale signs of depression in a loved one are.
Is your loved one suddenly refusing to socialise as much or not responding to texts or group chats like they used to? Are they avoiding calling friends and family back? Do they seem less chatty than they normally are? This can be a classic sign that something is seriously wrong, especially if this includes not partaking in their favourite past times or hobbies.
This can be anything like suddenly spending money frivolously or drinking alcohol a lot more often than usual, taking recreational drugs, partying hard or silly impulsive buys. Anything that suddenly seems odd, out of character or concerning.
Change in eating or appearance.
Has your loved one stopped taking care of themselves? Swapped healthy eating for constant junk food or their usual beauty regime for no make up? Are they usually well presented but seem unclean with messy hair? Perhaps they usually go to the gym a couple of times a week but haven't been bothering. Depression can make any small task seem impossible so even things such as washing your hair - or yourself - ends up being avoided.
Does your loved one seem more irritable or angry than usual? Do silly little things rub them up the wrong way? or do they just seem to be in an awful mood a lot more often than not these days? Believe it or not being quick tempered and losing patience are such a common side affect of depression, more so than sadness or hopelessness sometimes. If your loved one seems quick tempered there could be more than every day irritations annoying them.
If you think your loved one is suffering then you can contact mind.org.uk for advice, alternatively if you're the one suffering depression and you want to make the next step but don't know what to do, mind can help you too.
Don't suffer alone.
To coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week I am launching my new mental health blog which you can visit here - www.headcaseblog.co.uk. Depression and anxiety have robbed me or certain aspects of my life and caused me pain, heartache, anger and even embarrassment. I have been at the absolute lowest a person can be. TRUST ME. I want to be stronger now though and turn my experience and my past into something positive by creating a blog that not only helps me keep track of my progress but hopefully can help others.
Remember, it's OK to not be OK.
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