Depression has been on the high rise recently, with over 1.9 million Kenyans falling victim to it. In the process of fighting this, many are keeping their emotions tucked in and trying to look their best for their friends. As someone with a friend or family member suffering from depression, it might be hard to notice the signs and offer help to them. Below are a few tells of a depressed person.
First, they suddenly lose interest in activities they once used to enjoy. These activities may vary from outdoor activities to indoor activities. Could be that they loved going on adventure trips and hangouts but suddenly they become closed off. Cancelling out plans that they seemed so excited to be part of and avoiding people or social gatherings.
When in such a situation, it is advisable to help them through it by convincing them to take part in the activities. This can look like dragging them from the bed to the shower. It can also look like bringing the activity to them and helping them be engaged.
Another sign is that they withdraw from everything and everyone. A person who was once talkative and vibrant and extroverted suddenly becomes silent. They no longer engage in conversation with people, agreeing with decisions made and said regardless of the consequence. They also avoid conversations inquiring about their well-being.
When you notice this, try and offer an extended arm towards them. Be present when they are around and try to keep them in the conversation about their well-being. Retreat alongside them to avoid them being sad and alone.
Moreover, a person with depression experiences a change in appetite and by extension either weight gain or weight loss, depending on how they choose to handle their depression. There are some that choose to stress eat and since they are in bed the whole day, they eat and fatten with no possibility of burning the fat hence the weight gain. For those that are depressed and feel like they are worthless, they don’t see the need to eat much less feed themselves. They see no meaning in life so why sustain it by eating? They end up experiencing weight loss.
The above sign is accompanied by the person’s newfound interest in perfection. They are so broken inside that they are seeking perfection on the outside. This is expressed through constant self-criticism and them talking down on themselves. They want to be perfect on the outside and seem emotionally perfect.
When you notice the signs, try as hard as possible to affirm them on how amazing they are. Try to show up for them and motivate them to eat or vice versa, helping them to limit the pace of their eating. Take them out for some exercise and make it fun and interesting. Show them how perfection is hard to attain but contentment is achievable.
Finally, someone who is depressed often shows signs such as fatigue, insomnia, oversleeping, not getting out of bed and being unproductive. This comes when they first see no meaning to life, they don’t see the need to do anything that benefits them. By extension, they sleep to avoid all the negative thoughts and fears that creep in. Oversleeping becomes the escape from reality.
Those experiencing insomnia, cannot get themselves to draw into the silence. The silence before sleep comes is too deafening, so they opt to do something else instead. When they sleep, they have a nightmare of what they are going through or worse. So they opt to stay awake and this changes their sleep pattern causing insomnia.
Depression is a real issue that continues to take away people from our society. If left unchecked, victims of depression can commit suicide or something far worse. Here are a few signs to help in the recognition of people with depression so that we can offer assistance where it is needed.