But You Dont Look Depressed
There are tons of depressed people who do not look depressed. They put on a perfectly fake smile that convinces a lot of people.
They carry out their daily activities without revealing any sign of their depression.
Not everyone who is depressed looks like theyre depressed. Sometimes, they cover their pain and sadness with a big smile.
Just because they dont look depressed does not mean that their whole life is not falling apart.
You Never Think Of Anybody But Yourself
Depression makes everything less interesting, less important, and less worthwhile for those suffering from it.
It saps their energy and quite a lot more. This might make them act like all they care about is themselves. Sometimes they might seem so selfish that it seems like they are all they think about.
But you have to understand that this isnt their fault. They do not choose how they feel or act.
How To Tell Your Friends Youre Depressed
So, youve received the big clinical depression diagnosis. On one hand, its probably relieving to learn that the emotional pain you feel can be explained by an imbalance in your brain. On the other, you might be afraid of what people will think when they find out.
You want to tell your friends youre depressed so they can finally understand whats been going on with you. But the thought of sharing such a personal secret can be scary.
Will they judge you? Will they understand at all?
How do you know if you can trust the people you tell? Will they turn around and use your depression against you? Will they judge you?
These are all important questions to consider as you decide to come out to friends about your mental health status.
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Ways To Help A Friend With Depression Or Anxiety
If you want to be there for someone whos dealing with depression or anxiety, youre already being a great friend. It can be hard to know exactly how to help someone with depression or anxiety, and what to say to someone who’s having a rough time. Remember that each person is different, and while these tips are a guide, when helping a friend with depression or anxiety, its important to talk with your friend about what they feel they need.
Tips For Telling Your Friends Youre Depressed
- Discern which friends you feel close enough with to share these personal details. Others who you know on a much lighter basis dont necessarily need to know about your depression because its rare that theyll be in touch with that part of your life.
- Give them tools to help you out. By supplying your friends with a list of crisis numbers and mental health learning resources, youll be getting them involved with you. It will feel less like its all about you, and more like youre working as a team.
- Be prepared to patiently answer questions. Your friends might not know much about mental health and depression, so they may need to learn a bit before they can be fully supportive. Notice when they make an effort to help you and answer their questions with patience.
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Why Depression Can Scare Friends Away
Although depression is not contagious, it can feel like it is. Gail Saltz, MD, psychiatrist, and bestselling author of Becoming Real: Defeating the Stories We Tell Ourselves That Hold Us Back explains, Identification and empathy can be great qualities in a friend but can also make dealing with someone who is depressed very difficult. Some people over-identify with a depressed friend and this can make them feel drawn into a depressive state of their own. This fear of becoming depressed makes them anxious and causes them to pull away even though they know their depressed friend needs them.
Depression is a mental illness and like other illness, there is not a set timeline or magic formula to cure the patient. Friends may find it difficult to see their friend in so much pain. This uncomfortable feeling can lead to frustration and a misguided belief that the depressed person isnt trying to get better.
From there, the friend may think, If my support was helping, my friend wouldnt still be depressed and this leads them to give up on the friendship completely.
Know The Different Forms Depression Can Take
Depression often involves sadness or a low mood, but it also has other, less well-known symptoms.
For example, many people dont realize depression can involve:
- confusion, difficulties with memory, or difficulty focusing
- excessive fatigue or sleep concerns
- physical symptoms such as stomach distress, frequent headaches, or back and other muscle pain
Your friend may often seem to be in a bad mood, or feel exhausted a lot of the time. Try to keep in mind that what theyre feeling is still part of depression, even if it doesnt fit into the stereotypical versions of depression.
Even if you dont know how to help them feel better, simply saying Im sorry youre feeling this way. Im here to help if theres anything I can do may help.
Changes In Appetite And Weight
Weight and appetite can fluctuate for people with depression. This experience may be different for each person. Some people will have an increased appetite and gain weight, while others wont be hungry and will lose weight.
One indication of whether dietary changes are related to depression is if theyre intentional or not. If theyre not, it may mean that theyre caused by depression.
People who die by suicide usually show symptoms first. Often people will talk about it or make a first attempt before succeeding in ending their life. If you think someone is at immediate risk of self-harm or hurting another person:
- Stay with the person until help arrives.
- Remove any guns, knives, medications, or other things that may cause harm.
- Listen, but dont judge, argue, threaten, or yell.
If you think someone is considering suicide, get help from a crisis or suicide prevention hotline. Try the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
Moving Beyond Depression With Your Friend
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How Can Friends And Family Help
This information is for friends and family who want to support someone with depression.
The support of friends and family can play a very important role in someone recovering from depression. Here are some suggestions for how you can help.
- Support them to get help. You can’t force anyone to get help if they don’t want it, so it’s important to reassure your loved one that it’s OK to ask for help, and that there is help out there. See our pages on how to support someone else to seek help for their mental health for more information.
- Be open about depression. Lots of people can find it hard to open up and speak about how they’re feeling. Try to be open about depression and difficult emotions, so your friend or family member knows that it’s OK to talk about what they’re experiencing.
“The best things that friends and family can do is simply listen. They often don’t need to say anything, just being willing to listen to your problems makes you feel less alone and isolated”
- Keep in touch. It might be hard for your loved one to have the energy to keep up contact, so try to keep in touch. Even just a text message or email to let them know that you’re thinking of them can make a big difference to how someone feels.
“Talking… not even talking about how I felt. Just talking about stupid things that didn’t matter over coffee, without pressure and knowing that I can talk about the tough stuff if I want to.”
Let Them Know That They Arent Weak Or Defective
Depression often appears to feel like a character flaw to anyone who is depressed.
Your depressed friend might think theyre weak or probably defective. They might feel incomplete or totally damaged.
You have to remind them that they are not. Let them know that depression is an illness. And the fact that theyre probably still fighting back means theyre a lot stronger.
Reassure them that they are not weak neither are they defective.
Finally, you have to understand that sometimes,you can say all the right words and your friend will still get super mad or upset at you. Your friend may even refuse to open up to you.
Depression isnt something that has a specific formula, so you have to be patient with your depressed friend.
If it ever gets to a situation that you think you can not handle alone, call in professionals.
Also, people suffering from depression are at a high risk of suicide. Its not enough that you know how to talk to a depressed friend. You should also watch out for signs of suicidal tendencies and seek professional help when necessary.
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What Is Samhsa’s National Helpline
SAMHSAs National Helpline, , or TTY: is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.
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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Help Them To Find Support
Your friend might not be aware of what professional support options are available, or they may be unsure of how to get support. Even if they know about support options, it can be daunting to see a health professional.
You can offer support by encouraging your friend to speak to a health professional or an adult they trust. You could offer to join them for the conversation if they want, or even ask if theyd like you to book the appointment if its with a professional. A GP can organise a mental health care plan for them if needed. This means that your friend will get a referral to a psychologist or other professional. Theyll also get Medicare-subsidised sessions getting help doesnt have to mean they have to fork out hundreds of dollars.
Not everyone is ready to see somebody face-to-face. You could recommend hotlines or online chat-based helplines. The ReachOut NextStep tool can also provide tailored support options so they can make their own plan. Here are some support services they could use, and some more information about getting professional support for depression and anxiety.
If theyre not able to seek help on their own, ask for their permission to talk to an adult they trust on their behalf. If they refuse, and youre still really concerned, consider talking to an adult you trust, such as a teacher, parent or school counsellor.
Feeling Depressed Or Suffering From Depression
We often get mixed up between low mood and unhappiness and depression. The two things are very different. Depression isnt about feeling unhappy, its feeling youll never be happy again, explains Colin Grange, Psychologist and Clinical Director of Lifeworks.
If youre feeling low, is it starting to interfere with your day to day life? Are you not doing things that you used to do? Are you losing motivation in and enjoyment of life? Are you starting to not enjoy your hobbies? Is everything becoming an effort?
People suffering from clinical depression often experience a range of symptoms both physical and emotional which can interfere with day to day life. Discovering whether you are suffering from one or more of these symptoms could be an important step towards getting the help you need.
Am I depressed ?
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Questions To Figure Out The Impact Of Their Symptoms
These arent questions to diagnose whether or not your partner has depression, anxiety, bipolar, or related disorders. Thats something for you both to find out with the help of a mental health professional.
Instead, these questions are designed to help you determine if your partners symptoms are getting the upper hand:
- Are you sleeping more or less than you normally do?
- Are you eating more or less than you normally do?
- Are you tasting your food when you eat?
- Do you feel tired no matter how much you sleep?
- Are you capable of enjoying things right now?
- Is it hard for you to do personal grooming?
- Are you having thoughts of your own death?
Karen reminds us that theres a difference between simply feeling down and experiencing symptoms of clinical depression. These questions help determine which is happening.
Julie says that, as a partner, you probably already know the answer to these questions, but asking them helps your partner feel respected and gives them agency.
Concerned Your Friend Might Be Suicidal
If you are concerned that your friend is suicidal, your first action should be to ask the question outright. If you think theyre suicidal, ask them Are you thinking of killing yourself? This tactic cuts right to the chase to know if this person is at risk or not. It might seem like an abrupt or intrusive question, but it shows youre not afraid to have difficult conversations and that youre concerned for them. Sometimes, being the one to ask the question can take a huge weight off the other persons shoulders. Depression can make it very hard to have conversations, let alone ask for help.
If they would like to talk to someone outside of their situation, Lines for Life has a Suicide LifeLine that can be reached at 1-800-273-8255, as well as a YouthLine at 1-877-968-8491. They are staffed by highly trained volunteers that can offer support and assistance to you or your friend. They are available 24/7/365 and ready to help. If youd like more resources for your friend, check out our crisis helpline directory. If youre looking for more information on signs that your friend may be suicidal, check out our article on Suicide Warning Signs or nineoutoften.org.
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Why You Should Talk About Depression
Naturally, the prospect of disclosing your depression to other people is scary. You have no way of knowing for sure how they will respond.
But choosing to tell the people closest to you about your diagnosis and your struggles can be very healing, especially if they offer support and encouragement.
In fact, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, simply talking to a sympathetic person can reduce your stress level and improve your mood.
Likewise, letting other people know about your depression provides a safety net of sorts, especially if your condition worsens or if you need help or support.
In some cases, you may even want to share your crisis plan with a few trusted friends or family friends. This way, they know how to respond if your depression hits crisis level or you start talking about suicide.
The key is that you try not to deal with depression alone. Being depressed already heightens feelings of isolation, loneliness, and hopelessness.
You can help counteract these feelings by surrounding yourself with supportive people who remind you that you are not alone and that you are lovedeven when you don’t feel that way.
Loss Of Interest In Things That Were Previously Pleasurable
Sometimes this loss of pleasure also known as anhedonia may not be complete. So your loved one may gravitate only to those things that are easily enjoyed and require the least amount of effort, such as playing video-games, sitting in front of the TV or surfing the Web. This readily leads to thoughts or comments such as You have plenty of time and interest in surfing the Web, but not when it comes to spending quality time with me. Engaging with another person and meeting that persons needs require more effort than surfing the Web and therefore may be an early sign of depression.
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