The hidden realities of depression.
Depression is a mental health disorder that occurs when people develop a low mood that lasts for an extensive period of time. At its most severe, the intense sadness can lead to thoughts of suicide.
People can mask their depression in various ways:
- They could often say “I’m tired” to hide their low mood/energy.
- They either sleep a lot or don’t sleep enough and there’s a common misconception that their fatigue is laziness.
- They project an image of happiness to seem like everything’s okay but when they’re behind closed doors and alone they’re deeply emotional.
- They’re quiet and when you ask them if they’re okay, they say yes.
- They look at the ground often or won’t look at you directly because they don’t want to make eye contact.
A lot of people that go through depression can feel isolated, excluded, and hopeless. The thoughts can get dark and it can seem like there’s no way out.
They may not discuss their depression because they may not know what to say or how to say it for you to understand what they’re experiencing. There’s a fear of being misunderstood, judged, ignored, and dismissed.
Sometimes they may be the ones to give motivational speeches to others because they know what it’s like to be depressed and feel alone.
Symptoms of depression:
- Low energy and fatigue.
- Difficulty sleeping, lack of sleep or oversleeping.
- Muscle pain and aches.
- Changes in appetite — not eating much or eating too much.
- Easily irritated and upset.
- Difficulty concentrating and recalling.
- Suicide thoughts and talks about suicide.
What can you do to help someone you care for with depression?
- Be there for them and let them know it. Your presence whether it’s in person or over the phone it can help them cope with their symptoms.
- Create a safe space that’s free of judgment and unhelpful comments.
- Encourage them to talk about their feelings and listen to them with compassion. A lot of times they may not speak to anyone about it.
- Suggest practices like yoga and mediation. This can relieve their stress and help them relax.
- Suggest professional help such as a therapist.
- When you’re supporting them, don’t take what they say or do personally. Their thoughts can be distorted, making it hard to manage their emotions.
- Take care of yourself. Take time to rejuvenate and regulate your own emotions.
- Do some independent research on depression so you can support them better.