Often people say “I feel depressed” when they are feeling low and disgusted. This feeling, however, disappears within a few days. In such cases, the word ‘depression’ is being incorrectly used. In reality, depression is a type of mental disorder and is far graver than a sense of fleeting sadness. Depression is a state when the person feels so low that she is unable to perform the daily tasks and such a feeling lasts for a long span of time. Enumerated below are the signs of depression and how you can help a friend feel better.
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8 signs your friend is in depression
Depression is not the same for everyone. There are many symptoms that exist, which are enumerated below.
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1. Feeling tired all the time
If your friend is constantly complaining of exhaustion to the point that she is unable to complete her daily tasks, then it could be the starting point of depression. Depression also leads to restlessness and an inability to sleep. This is a major sign of depression.
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When a person is depressed, there is anxiety. This sense of nervousness often leads to the development of addictions like smoking and alcoholism.
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3. Loss of weight
When a person is depressed there is a loss of hunger. This causes extreme weight loss. Some, on the other hand, exhibit signs of impulsive eating. Due to this, they can also suddenly put on excessive weight. Binge eating and loss of hunger are also important signs of depression.
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4. No interest in sex
If you find your friend telling you that he or she has lost all interest in sex and is unable to feel any excitement with the partner, then it could be a sign of depression. Often, when depression occurs, one doesn’t feel turned on enough and is neither able to achieve an orgasm.
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The ones who are depressed have a tendency to harm themselves.
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What could start off as taking excessive doses of medicines or trying to cut oneself could ultimately even lead to attempts of suicide. Depression leads to self-harm and if your friend is doing that then it is a red flag you need to notice.
Those suffering from depression feel so low that they tend to cry at the drop of a hat.
So, if your friend tends to cry in most situations, then it is likely that they are going through depression.
Inability to control the tears is a sure sign of depression.
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7. Low self-confidence
Depressed people suffer from low self-confidence. They feel that everything wrong that happens is their fault. It is this constant sense of guilt that brings down their levels of confidence.
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8. Difficulty in making decisions
Lack of self-confidence makes depressed people unable to make decisions for themselves. Hence you might see that your friend keeps coming to you to help them make decisions, even for the smallest of matters.
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How to help a friend in depression
If you are thinking about how to cheer up a depressed friend and make them feel better, then here are some ways that you can. 6 ways to help your depressed friend.
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1. Make them open up
Depressed people often tend to stay closeted. There is anxiety that if they open up, they would be ostracized by society or it could be because they don’t want to accept that they have a problem. So, if you find that a friend of yours is suffering from depression, then you must try to make them talk about it.
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However, they might not open up easily. So you have to be patient with them and keep reminding them that you really do care.
If you are thinking what should you not say to someone with anxiety then know this –avoid phrases like “cheer up”, or “get over this” when you hear her talk.
Instead, say words like “I am sorry you have to go through this” and “that sounds really tough on you.”
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2. Listen more
Remember that while your friend might be open with you and share what they feel, they might not be looking for any advice from you. Sometimes just pouring out all pent-up emotions makes a person feel better.
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So, you should rather engage them in talking more while you simply listen. Don’t interrupt when they are talking. It is important to be able to speak their heart out. Show empathy not through what you say but rather by your body language.
You could also ask them leading questions so that they talk more.
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3. Help them get medical treatment
When depressive tendencies become very severe, then just talking to them won’t help. Rather, take them to an expert so that the right kind of treatment may be prescribed.
Help them by finding a good therapist and even go ahead and make the first appointment for them and also be with them when they visit the therapist.
You could also help them by listing out the various questions that they should ask during the first session with the therapist.
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4. Keep encouraging them
It might happen that on a certain day your friend refuses to go for the therapy session. This is where your part comes in you need to keep encouraging them with phrases like: “The last time it was good and you are already feeling so much better, please don’t cancel it.”
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5. Help with daily chores
When a person is depressed a person overthinks. This causes more blood to flow to the brains and hence lesser blood flows to other parts of the body. This is why they feel constantly tired and are unable to do their daily work.
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As a friend, you could offer to help with daily work like doing the laundry, going grocery shopping with them or helping to get all the bills paid on time.
6. Keep in touch
You will find that if your friend is depressed then he or she will start to cancel plans that both of you make many a time. Don’t take this personally but realize that it is the depression that is causing it. Instead, make it a point to stay in touch – if required put in that extra effort to drop in just to check on them.
Depression can lead to graver issues if left unattended. So, if you know of someone who is going through depression, then go on and reach out today – comfort someone with depression.
We thank Dr. Manu Tiwari, Head of Department, Mental Health, Consultant Psychiatrist, Fortis Hospital, Noida for his inputs.
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