WHEN IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN JUST “FEELING DOWN” AND NOT
It is common to see friends amongst us, who sometimes do not behave like their usual selves. Upon further probing, the common excuses are “it is just not my day”, “i am so stressed at work”, “i have a lot on my plate right now” etc. Some of these excuses might explain their difference in behaviour, but for some individuals therein lies a deeper problem- depression.
What exactly is depression?
It is a low mood that lasts for a long period, and affects your everyday life. Mild depression is characterised by being in low spirits. It does not stop you from living your everyday life, but you might find it hard to complete certain tasks, like getting out of bed in the morning. You start losing interest in things around you and activities that you normally enjoy may also seem like a chore. Some individuals might experience shoulder and headaches. On the other end of the spectrum, severe depression can be life-threatening. Most patients who have experienced depression describe the feeling as “being alone” and “shoulders feel heavy”.
When does low mood become depression?
It is normal for most of us to have times when our mood is low. These feelings should pass in due course. If the feelings are interfering with your daily activities, and don’t go away after a few weeks, or if they come back over and over again for a few days at a time, it could be a sign that you are experiencing depression.
How to detect depression in individuals?
If you see friends or family members who are behaving oddly or not-like their usual self, approach them nicely and speak to them. Tell them that you are here to help not to judge. More often than not, depressive patients just want reassurance that they are not alone. It is not surprising that most individuals will deny that they are depressed- most depressed patients do not know or don’t want to admit that they are depressed.
How can I help a friend who is depressed?
• Listen to them. Ask them what you can do to help them feel them. More often than not they need someone to listen to know they are not alone.
• Accept their condition. If someone is suffering from depression it is impossible for them to cheer up or forget about it. Asking them to do the aforementioned might upset them and makes you seem like you aren’t taking them seriously.
• Encourage them to seek professional help. Seeking medical help is an extremely important step to recovery. You could offer to go with them to see a doctor if they are too scared to go alone. If speaking face-to-face with someone is something they are uncomfortable with, online platforms such has Teleme has a panel of qualified psychiatrists and psychologists (both male and female) to choose from.
• Back down if they aren’t ready. If you think your friend needs a visit but they don’t respond well to the suggestion, don’t put too much pressure on them – it will most likely put them off the idea of seeking help. Remain supportive when asked.
Depression when detected early has a high chance of recovery. It is never too late to save a friend’s life.
Written by: Evelyn Yeoh
Sources: reachout.com, mind.org.uk
Image sources: gurl.com, cedarscobblehill.com