Being A Good Friend – How To Tell If Someone Is Depressed

With the passing of Robin Williams at this own hands, the world was shocked upon discovering just how unhappy the seemingly hyperactive and passionate actor and comedian actually was. While his death was a tragedy for all he entertained and amused without end for decades, his death brought newfound awareness for depression and similar mental health issues.

They call depression ‘the silent killer’, and for good reason too. Someone close to you could be completely emotionally shattered, and you would never know, because they are so skilled at masking their true state of mind through jollity and humour. It takes a keen eye and a bit of basic knowledge about the symptoms to be able to tell.

So, how does one go about scrutinizing a friend or loved one’s life if they suspect that he or she may be suffering from depression? It’s all about the changes you may have sensed in their usual demeanour.

Are they Sleeping Fine?

Depression is marked by abnormal sleeping patterns. A person may find themselves too upset to sleep, or may be sleeping far longer than usual. A depressed person will often find it difficult to even get out of bed and face the day ahead.

Has their Appetite Changed?

Depression is often associated with eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia, as well as less severe changes in their usual eating habits. If you notice the person is under or overeating, this may be an indicator that their eating has become affected. Both fasting and starvation, as well as over-indulgence, are popular coping mechanisms.

Are they as Sociable as they Used to be?

While many people are just naturally more reclusive or introverted than others, a sudden withdrawal from social interaction is a common feature of depression. Many people just cannot find the energy or ability to be lively or entertain others.

Abandoning Hobbies and Passions

A musician may drop their instrument, a chef may struggle to cook anything, and a painter may not be able to pick up the paintbrush. Whatever your friend is into, if they find it hard (or even no longer participate) in what they were once passionate about, you may have another indicator on your hands.

Obviously, your job is not to be a psychologist here, you just want to know whether your close one is fine or not. You may not feel like you are adequately or appropriately equipped to approach your friend or family member for counselling, but it might actually make a world of difference to them to have you reach out.