Depression is not always easy to spot in loved ones as it can present in many different ways. Sometimes the way people show that they are depressed is not stereotypical, However, there are signs and tips to help you see their hidden depression.
Depression can be a devastating condition that can affect your loved one on so many levels. People hide their depression because they are afraid and do not want others to know what is happening to them. Many people feel embarrassed because they see depression as a sign of weakness or have shame about how they are feeling because depression still has a negative stigma attached to it. Some people also use the technique of ‘If I don’t pay attention to it, it will go away’. These ways of coping with depression do not deal with the issue itself and so the energy of the depression manifests in different ways.
Here are some tips to help you discover if your loved one is suffering from depression:
- They may overcompensate. To hide their depression, they overcompensate by being more outgoing than usual. Studies show that people trying to hide their depression can force themselves to be more outgoing and give fake smiles. People that do this are trying to keep their issues undercover, so they want others to think they are fine and how they show this is by smiling lots. If you know your loved one is down but when they go out they paint on a smile, ensure they know that sharing their true feelings with you is ok.
- They have changes in their eating habits. Issues with food are common among those with depression. Changes in appetite with depression happen a lot and a person suffering with depression may eat too much or too little, show lots of interest in food or report feeling nausea on a regular basis. If you notice diet changes in your loved one, consider what is happening. Food can serve as an emotional trigger; your loved one may be using food to try to make themselves feel better or worse.
- They have angry outbursts. These outbursts can become more frequent as the depression gets worse – An occasional angry outburst is normal for everyone. However, if you notice frequent and strange angry outbursts, this may be a way that they are dealing with depression.
- Their sleep patterns change. Unhealthy sleep patterns are an issue for those with depression. Your loved ones may sleep too much or too little. They may complain about not getting enough sleep, sleeping in the day, or refusing to go to bed. Insomnia is also frequently linked to depression. Sleep can however be chicken and egg, as a sleep problem can also be the cause of depression itself, so please support your loved to see the GP who can investigate this further.
- They hide their feelings by keeping really busy schedules. It’s common for those who are hiding their depression to fill up their day with a ton of activity. This keeps them busy and stops them from thinking. It also keeps others from questioning them. The reason behind this – a busy schedule prevents them from having to deal with their emotions.
- They have trouble thinking clearly. People who suffer from depression can often make bad decisions, struggle to make simple decisions or refuse to reach any decision. This is because they have trouble with their thoughts. They may also show difficulty in focusing on easy things.
Use these tips to help you spot hidden depression in your loved ones so that you can help them get the help that they need. Once you do please talk to them about it when you are calm and in a supportive and non-judgmental way. Once you have communicated your concern for them, you can offer ongoing support if they would like it by accompanying them to appointments, checking in with them regularly and encouraging them to socialise.
This list is not exhaustive and if you feel somethings not right and you want to chat please do not hesitate to contact us.
Thanks for reading