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Recognizing Depression

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What about…. depression?  …. Oh, that awful word…. for so many women.  It strikes women of all ages, backgrounds, and all walks of life.  How can we detect it?  How do we get the help we need?  How can we help a dear friend or family member who we believe may be suffering from depression?

 

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I chatted with my dear friend, Linda Wharton, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, who helped shed some light on the signs and symptoms of depression.

Linda shared, “Well, first things first; it is helpful to understand how we (professionals) define depression.  There is one type that is all year long called Major Depressive Disorder.”

Depressed mood and/or loss of interest or pleasure in life activities for at least two weeks in some of the below areas could mean you are suffering from depression.  Some of the symptoms include:

  • Depressed mood most of the day.
  • Diminished interest or pleasure in most activities.
  • Significant unintentional weight loss or gain.
  • Insomnia or sleeping too much.
  • Agitation noticed by others.
  • Fatigue or loss of energy.
  • Feelings of or worthlessness or excessive guilt (which could include suicidal thoughts).
  • Having trouble thinking, concentrating or indecisiveness.
  • Recurrent thoughts of death.

 

Woman with depression sitting in the corner of room

 

If you think you may be suffering from depression, here is a link to a simple test called “Beck Depression Inventory”:

http://www.adaa.org/iving-with-anxiety/ask-and-learn/screenings/screening-depression

I asked Linda what are some of the signs and symptoms of someone who may be depressed. 

Linda shared: 

  • Has she fallen off the face of the earth? (And not just because she is working, taking care of her family and needy children.)
  • And when you do see her, she shares she is not feeling well?  
  •  She doesn’t call and when she does, she barely talks about anything.
  • She’s lost a lot of weight and she clearly hasn’t been sleeping (and it is not that newborn no sleep thing or teenage years no sleep thing).
  • Or maybe she’s sleeping all the time. When you stop by the house to see how she’s doing, she’s still in her pajamas from two days ago and clearly hasn’t showered in days.
  • Maybe she’s even turned to alcohol or another substance to help her cope. You can just tell in your “friend gut” that something just isn’t right. She’s just not her usual self. 

What can we, as non-professionals, do to help?   Linda shares:

  • Call her! Tell her that you miss her and that you want to help. Listen to your friend or family member that is trying to cope with this.   Depressed people often feel as if no one understands them so they don’t share. While you do not have to understand or have all the answers, you can share a burden with them (just as in Matthew as Jesus shares the yoke with us, so we can with them). Studies show that just talking it out and having someone to listen helps people with depression.
  • Self-Help is so Important! Invite her out to get a pedicure, go shopping for new makeup, or whatever it is that helps her relax.     
  • Encourage her to get exercise. Exercise helps with any kind of depression.   
  • Make sure she starts eating again and attempts to sleep, or encourage to see her physician about these things.

Linda shares importantly, “please note, that if your friend is making statements such as ‘they would be better off without me’ or ‘I can’t keep living like this’ or similar phrases, or share about how they will harm themselves, it may be appropriate to get a professional involved to keep them safe.”

Linda suggested, “I would also include a list of local referral places where they can receive counseling (and at a discounted priced).” 

Some would include: 

Locally, in the Northeast Florida area, there is the “Women’s Center of Jacksonville” http://www.womenscenterofjax.org/ and the “Florida Counseling and Evaluation Services”: http://www.flces.com/

Locally and nationally, “Psychology Today” can help:  https://www.psychologytoday.com/  

 

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I hope the above information helps and thanks, Linda, for helping us understand common signs and symptoms of someone who is experiencing depression.  

~Blessings,

~Clare

Author
Clare is a 57-year-old fun loving Italian-American self-proclaimed “Jersey Girl” who believes, “Life ain’t easy street. Life is one of those crazy little city streets, complete with potholes that could swallow your car.” With one foot planted in fun and the other planted firmly in her Christian faith, Clare enjoys making people laugh while helping them navigate life’s “crazy little city streets”. Clare has raised two girls (now grown young adults) with her husband, Michial, Clare is ready to take on the challenges of making new friends through her blog, Life Ain’t Easy Street. With an aim to entertain while addressing topics important to women, Clare’s focus on the positive power of good stories, good friends, inspiring women, and strong faith will have you looking forward to reading the next post. Clare is a freelance writer who lives a real life in Jacksonville Beach, Florida.

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27 Comments

  • candy says:

    Thank you for addressing this issue. Much needed.

  • Daria says:

    Depression is real! I’ve dealt with it in the past. It’s not easy and everything that is said in this post is true. Since I’ve been through it and know the signs, when I see it in a person I make it a point to address it with them. It’s a lonely feeling and if you haven’t gone through it, you don’t understand it. Thanks for shedding light on this topic!

    • Clare says:

      Yes, I agree and I have walked through it too, it is an often overlooked topic! I am glad you liked the post and glad it was of benefit!

  • lisa says:

    As someone who has suffered from depression, I cannot say enough good important this post is. Thank you for sharing.

  • These are such great tips. I know first hand depression is very real and can hit anyone. While there are signs it can sneak up on you.
    Thank you so much for sharing these signs and suggestions. Sometimes someone noticing can be all the difference between getting help and getting worse.

    • Clare says:

      It can hit anyone. I am glad you found the tips and signs helpful! So true that sometimes someone noticing can be all the difference between getting help and getting worse – thanks for sharing that!

  • Thank you for sharing this. As someone who has suffered from depression, the more we can educate people about it the better.

  • Paola says:

    Great post, I have a few friends that are clinically depressed and this will probably be great for them to read.

  • Daniela says:

    Thank you so much for writing about a topic that is so difficult for some to discuss. I was never diagnosed with having depression or anxiety, but can relate to a lot of the feelings that you described. It’s such a difficult thing to put into words and explain to others that have never experienced those feelings. The more the world talks about it, hopefully, the easier it becomes to talk about! Thank you for your post!

    • Clare says:

      So true – I think some people may think “you can wish depression away” but I know it doesn’t really work like that. It can be a very real thing for people and I urge them to seek help! Glad you agreed this is an important topic, Daniela! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  • GiGi Eats says:

    I remember when I went through a few years of depression. But thankfully I was able to pull myself out of it by reminding myself that my support system is far too good to be true and I am insanely lucky!

    • Clare says:

      I am so delighted you are better and had a wonderful support system – that is so so important and helpful! Thanks for sharing your experiences with us!

  • Tara says:

    Thanks for your helpful post. My teenage son has been battling depression for a few years. It’s a hard thing to go through, especially when I feel helpless. You’re right though, there are things that we can do to help our loved ones – and the number one thing is to just be there for them!

    • Clare says:

      Oh, so sorry you are dealing with this issue with your son, Tara – and I know you must feel helpless. I hope you are seeking out the help that you may need. Yes, just being there for someone who is battling such a big thing as depression is the most important thing we can do! Thanks for sharing your experience with us!

  • katie says:

    Such a helpful post that will help a lot of people’s support systems.

    ​xx katie // a touch of teal

  • Karen Dowd-Hansen says:

    Very good advice, Clare! I am depressed sometimes, but not ever to the point where someone needs to worry. When that happens, somebody needs to step up and take over. Call someone! Never hesitate if your loved one needs help!

    • Clare says:

      Thanks, Karen. True, true – don’t hesitate if your loved ones need help and just being there for them in their time of need is so key, too!

  • Ally Fiesta says:

    The exercise method is solid! I have a family member going through this and the change once they started exercising regularly was far more positive than any Rx they took. I am happy that they are looking to become a certified fitness instructor.

    • Clare says:

      I keep reading that too, Ally. How exercise helps so much… and even just getting out for some fresh air and seeing the sun or taking a stroll! Thanks for sharing!

  • Rhi says:

    I would say, as someone with depression and with friends who have depression, unless a friend is already under the care of a professional then even before the point where you’re worried about them being suicidal it’s worth helping them get some professional help. The further a person is down the well the harder it is to get them back up again and you don’t want to risk them hurting themselves.
    Also be aware of self harm, cutting, burning, bruising. Being covered up on hot summer days, lots of long sleeves when they don’t normally wear them. Little things like that.
    Also, personal hygiene and other forms of taking care of themselves and their homes will suffer too.

    • Clare says:

      Wow – such great information and suggestions, Rhi! We thank you for this…and so true your statement “the further a person is down the well the harder it is to get them back up again….” Thanks!

  • Thank you so much for this, Clare! Women are at an increased risk of depression after a pregnancy loss. This is very useful information for the support group that I run. I’ll be sharing. Blessings to you!

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