You may be reading this post because you are looking for answers. You are trying to find a solution to the communication problems you are having with a depressed relative or friend. Heck, you might be in such strange moods of late that have got you questioning your mental health. You find yourself being asked the question quite often.
..”Am I depressed?” You might have a point. Depression has been a struggle for a lot of people throughout time, although it has begun to grab the attention of the public as of recent. Unfortunately, it has taken a few popular people such as movie and music stars to get the public concerned about it. Chester Bennington – a music legend, who died of recent comes to mind: may his soul rest in peace. Depression can be a mental state of suffering and worthlessness that a victim grapples with from time to time. It could be as a result of some traumatic event in that person’s life, or it may be a reoccurring situation or phenomenon that has no known cause. It can also happen over an extended period and when it does the victim learns to hide or ignore it. In fact, sometimes, we find that some victims aren’t even aware of their situation. It could prevent the victim from getting the help and care they deserve. Our seeming apathy to the conditions of our fellow humans in modern times has only worsened the case. In our busyness, we ignore the cry for help the people give. We sometimes even refuse to acknowledge them, and that alone makes them recoil more in-depth into their shell of misery. Here are the eleven signs of people going through the depression. Remember that they need help although they don’t usually recognize that.
1. They go out of their way to appear happy and content with life.
When we think of people who are depressed, what often comes to mind are moody and grumpy people. But that is a huge misconception, and that has contributed to the struggle of identifying depressed people. Not all depressed people are unhappy and sad every time. Yes, when they are in their dark episodes they could look terrible but remember that most depressed people don’t try to slit their wrist in the eye of traffic or the public. These dark chapters take place in when they are alone. In society, depressed people keep an upbeat attitude, and they do this because they don’t want to bring any attention to themselves. Since they can’t go through the day with a sober face, without being hit with a barrage of questions about their well being, they have learned how to put on happy masks, and they avoid showing their true feelings. Hence they cause pain to people that they love or get abandoned by people they trust.
2. They may be accustomed to regular therapeutic getaway activities
Depression can be sorted out in many ways, some go the route of medication, or some others find a way to use activities that are therapeutic when you engage in them. People who are often depressed have found a way to find such activities. They would periodically participate in these activities to take their minds off their daily struggles with depression. These activities could range from an exercise like walking, running, cycling and lifting weights. They could also include entertainment such as binge-watching TV series or movies or even listening to music especially certain songs that portray or mirror what they are going through, when they engage in this kind of activity, they tend to overindulge.
3. They have trust issues due to being abandoned sometime in the past.
If you have gone through a situation whereby you got abandoned as a small child, you will understand the struggle and pain of seeing your loved ones – both friends and family, leave you.
When you have problems, and you let someone into your life and struggle, only for that person to take to their heels – as if your questions are too nasty to deal. Sometimes you even get judged while you are still in pain. So instead of providing solutions to people’s problems we often find ourselves as a society, blaming the victim. This sort of behavior only facilitates the feeling of abandonment in people who are going through depression. In fact, it adds salt to injury to realize that all that effort that was taken – putting ego aside, to relay their problems and share their vulnerable side to people was wasted. It makes people fighting depression to build even more walls to hide from the critical gaze of the public. They would rather pretend that they are okay and keep dying inside than for the world to pick at their sores.
4. They become very good at covering their pain
Through the practice of hiding their conditions from the world, depressed people mastered the act of putting up an act. They would tell compelling stories to defend the cuts or scars on their hands and give genuine reasons as to why they couldn’t meet up an appointment. It, of course, is a very hard and tough life to live. No one ultimately feels comfortable living a double life. And for depressed people, that has become a very regular lifestyle. Even when someone picks up these signs, they would be in denial when confronted with the pain they are passing through. Although they are going through times of distress, worthlessness, self-pity and low esteem, they would continually be in denial of the reality of their situation. You have to probe with love care and genuine concern for the victim to get through the walls they have built around themselves. Patience is also vital in this process.
5. They would probably have a fitful sleeping and eating pattern.
It may be very tough for people around victims and even victims to notice, but irregular eating and sleeping patterns are a sign of depression. It is very common in depressed people to experience an overindulgence in sleeping and eating activities. They could be overeating or starve themselves. Same goes for sleeping; depressed people could find themselves snoozing long after the alarm clock has gone off or they may stay awake watching the ceiling until the sun rises from the sky. Naturally, these two activities are needed for refreshment and energizing of the body. When they are performing well give us joy and happiness but when someone is depressed, that person doesn’t find anything in his/her life exciting and fun anymore. And so such a person may resort to the only activities that give them some joy and control in their lives – thus distracting them from their pain. It is crucial that we look out for depression when we notice that ourselves or family and friends are overindulging in such activities. A quick diagnosis is paramount to an immediate and adequate care.
6. They fall to substance abuse
Someone who is depressed would not only overindulge in sleeping or eating activities. They would look to substances for help. They would begin to drink and smoke a lot. And when they do so, you might think that they do that just for fun. But believe you me that that is not the case. They are taking and sometimes abusing these substances to help them forget the pain they are going through – even if it is for a brief moment. And they intelligently use the substances for situations that call for them. For example, they know that alcohol is a depressant of emotions and so, therefore, they would take a lot of it to help them douse their sorrows. They also use stimulants such as coffee and cocaine to get them into a jubilant and happy mood. Its used for social events where they have to wear the smiling mask and pretend that everything is nice and dandy.
7. They stare their mortality almost on a daily basis.
Now, this isn’t to say that all depressed people are looking for ways to end their lives. But when someone is depressed their state of mind is different from the average person. Since most of what keeps people engaged in life don’t matter as much to them. Remember that life is just in-between of birth and death. And to them, since life itself feels empty and bland. The only thing that is left to look forward to is death. Maybe that is the only way they can end the frustration and misery they must be facing in life itself. The more frequent these situations occur, the more they would be stuck with such a mindset.
8. They are most times brilliant and retrospective.
It is no secret that the very best of us – those who have contributed meaningfully to the furtherance of the human race, dealt continuously with depression or suffered some mental illness or the other. Elon Musk famously said something to the fact that he is busy inventing so as not to succumb to a very dull life. He said he wanted just to keep creating and not be sad. So we can see that the driving force of the greats has usually come from the pain of some traumatizing past or the boredom of life. It helps them to express their ideas and talents in extraordinary and unique ways.
9. They often look for the meaning of their lives.
In the face of the perceived bland life they lead, depressed people are in constant for the search for the life they live. It’s an attempt at quenching the inner hunger or pain of not having a purpose. By the way, human beings naturally want to know that they are making some impact in their lives, that of their friends and family and the world at large. They want to see that they are doing the right thing or they belong to a group that had goals that are good for themselves and humanity. When we find out that we are a part of something far more significant than us, then we would be able to overlook the painful boredom and suffering that is very evident in everyone’s life. Most of the greats that were brave enough to challenge the injustices and suffering that plagued our societies in the past were known to have troubled households. People like Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr had and willed lead tough lives that would have made most people give up on life. But what kept them going was their fervent belief that what they were doing was far more significant than them. Instead, it spurred to even overindulge in what they were doing because that was where they found happiness. That is the similar case for those who are depressed, in pursuit of happiness they vigorously search for their life’s meaning and when they see it, they indulge in it till they become great masters at their craft – thus achieving great goals in such fields.
10. They could occasionally ask for help.
See, no one is perfect. And at some point everyone needs help. It’s the same for depressed people, when they are in need of help they would sometimes speak out. It is crucial that they are not cajoled or ignored when they do this. Opening up like that for depressed people is often a silent cry for help. If you notice that someone who you wouldn’t expect to cry or show signs of emotional distress is doing so, please try as much as you can to attend to that person or lead him/her to someone who can. It is essential that we act quickly in this cases. It’s because the results of our actions whether it be neglect or concern would be tremendous. A listening friend or even stranger could be enough to change the trajectory of the life of a depressed person. But negligence could lead to very dire consequences. It is also good to be that person of help in such a situation. It could also be an opportunity to build trust and friendship.
11. They are attracted to love and care and sometimes often seek it.
People who are fighting with depression often hide their problems as a self-defense mechanism and not a way to deceive people. It is most times, not even a deliberate action. They are trying to hide their pain and suffering from friends and family members, to not be a burden to them. They don’t want a situation whereby their loved wants are in constant anxiety and worry over their well being. Nowadays, we live in a world where being true to yourself and your struggles are looked upon with disapproval. We wake up to our strong and shiny suits that cover our weak and wounded bodies. This kind of culture encourages the neglect of in-depth discussions with the need to have in our society about depression. And thus depression has gone unnoticed in our community today, although it takes vast numbers of people through miserable lives and to their graves. To fight this epidemic, we must begin to empathize for those of us who are victims of such brutal mental attacks, and we should take measurable steps to see that they are cared for. Only through this can we win the war against depression.
Remember to help someone who is fighting depression; they desperately need your help even though they may act like they don’t. They do, and your support may save their lives. Stay blessed.