Recognizing Depression, and How To Address It
Have you noticed a change in your loved one? Are they acting strange, tired, and unengaged? They may be struggling with depression. There are several different types of depression too, which can make it difficult to understand. There’s seasonal depression, chronic depression, major depression, and more. The best way to know for sure, is to see a doctor.
Notice the change in behavior: You may notice little things at first, like the person being more irritable, changes in eating and sleep habits, or not doing as many activities as they used to. Depression has a way of presenting similar issues in different forms for different people. Some people will eat more, and others will have a lack of appetite. Likewise, some people sleep more, whereas others have insomnia. Depression is unique to the person, so it can be difficult to pinpoint at times.
It’s more than a feeling of sadness. It’s a lack of joy. It can also come with a brain fog, anxiety, and frustration even though the person may not understand why. Look for signs like sleeping too much or too little, eating too much or too little, irritability, loss of interest in usual activities, no set goals at work or in personal life, an increase in risk taking behavior, excessive crying, isolation, and fatigue.
One of the best ways to determine if your loved one is depressed is to ask. Go down the list above and ask them if they are experiencing these symptoms. If they respond to “Yes” for several symptoms, then it might be a good time to talk to a doctor.
How To Address It
Reach out and confront with love: Before you intervene, talk to your loved one about why you think that they may be depressed. Remember, when talking to them, don’t start the conversation off with accusations and anger. Meet your loved one with understanding and kindness. They will be much more receptive to a conversation when you show that you care. It’s a vulnerable subject when they are already feeling defeated. Be clear and direct, but surround them with loving reminders of why you want them to get better.
Set up a time to talk with a therapist and/or a doctor: Encourage your loved one to see a therapist and/or a medical doctor. They may not have the willpower or drive to seek them out on their own. Come alongside them, and help them select the best doctor for them. Let them be a part of the decision making process. Sometimes with depression, the smallest tasks can seem insurmountable. One of the best ways to help is by helping them make steps to recovery.
Have patience: After they visit the therapist or doctor, they won’t be cured overnight. This is a difficult disease and it will take time to overcome. There will be changes along the way, which can be hard, too. Finding the best medication can be tricky, as well as introducing new behavioral habits. There will be moments that look like they are improving, and other moments where it looks like they are worse. Stay on track, and help them focus on the end goal to keep them motivated to continue getting better.
What your loved one needs now more than ever is your love and support. For a time, you may have to take on more of the household chores, or assist them in little things that you don’t understand why. Do your best to not become frustrated with them as they are recovering. Change is never easy, but it’s better when you are surrounded in love.