Do you consider yourselves knowledgeable enough to spot the signs of depression? If you have been reading our blogs or other self-help journals related to psychology, you might answer yes. While we appreciate the awareness that’s been spread regarding better mental wellness across India, there might be some information that we may have missed regarding depression.
Let’s educate ourselves to recognise certain signs that could possibly mean, a person is asking for help
1) Irregular sleeping and eating patterns
The most prominent symptom of depression is significant disturbance in someone’s eating and sleeping habits. The most common manifestations would be insomnia and weight loss due to loss of appetite. Some people who struggle with depression may end up overeating and oversleeping as well. This is called atypical depression and those who have it are at a higher risk of being undiagnosed or labelled as simply being lazy or diet conscious.
2) Mood swings
Have you ever noticed being unable to control your emotions lately? Do you often feel angry, upset, hurt, or irritated? Even though we might picture someone who’s depressed as being emotionally numb, insensitive, or apathetic – depression can make us moodier, vulnerable, and emotionally weak and volatile. Having frequent outburst like suddenly crying for no reason or snapping at your friend out of the blue can possibly mean that someone’s mental health is declining.
3) Dropping hints that you need help and not being direct about it
Do you struggle with asking for help? As much as we like our independence, there is no shame in asking for help if needed. The problem in people with depression is that they find it painfully difficult to ask for help because they fear being judged or their struggles will be invalidated or misunderstood. So, they resort to struggling by themselves and stop halfway. Some examples include, telling your friend you want to tell them something but refusing to do so at the time or denying the fact you’re not okay even when you’re crying or breaking down or having a dark sense of humour.
4) Overspending or shopping out of control
Do you find yourself buying lots of things on impulse when you used to prefer saving more and being economical? For some people suffering from depression this type of behaviour is not common. Buying things to make you feel better or treating yourself to luxury goods to serve the distraction or to boost your self esteem is most likely a non-adaptive coping mechanism.
5) Constantly searching for answers
Searching for meaning is something that is inherent to human nature. All of us are curious to know our purpose or reason for existing. But unlike people struggling with depression, it isn’t a priority or in the forefront of our minds. Depression however has this way of making us feel that we’re constantly wasting our time. It makes us question our potential because we feel we’re not chasing greatness of success. You believe in perfectionism – you wanna be great or nothing! This is exactly the reason why people who are depressed feel vulnerable and inadequate. In reality, it doesn’t matter if you don’t complete your goals or feel like you’re in the same place. Your life is great and still worth living!
6) Reflecting on life and death
Are you someone who believes to be very philosophical? Sometimes people struggling with depression is that they can be very insightful and wise behind their years. This is because they spend a lot of time thinking and pondering about life and death. Indeed, depression can make the most easy going extrovert in us be philosophical and intense.
7) Being more creative
Last but not least, something might surprise you about how creative a person can get when they’re depressed. Hemmingway, Vincent Van Gough and a lot of other artists have in common is that they were mentally not okay. This is not a point to romanticize depression, but studies have proven that depressions evoke the creative gene in people’s minds. It is said to be an outlet to express oneself and make a world of difference from all the negative thoughts.
If you or someone you know is experiencing these signs, please listen to their concerns, be with them and refer them to a licensed professional.
At CareMe, we offer personalised plans based on data evaluations on your past traumas and recent experiences. We are here to support and understand your issues and walk with you through this journey!
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This blog was written under the expert guidance and feedback from Ms. Shreya Sharma, Counselling Psychologist at CareMe Health
Edited and Coordinated by Arathi Nair