Is someone you know suffering from depression? Here’s how you can tell

A treatment plan that includes medical interventions, support, and lifestyle changes can enable a person to live a normal and full life with the condition

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Depression involves a saddened mood or loss of pleasure or interest in activities for long periods of time. Depression is different from regular mood changes and feelings about everyday life. It can affect all aspects of life, including relationships with family, friends and community. Nearly 50% of those diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Depression is the leading cause of disability in the many countries among people between the ages of 15 and 44.


Depression affects how people think, feel and act. Depression makes it more difficult to manage from day to day and interferes with study, work and relationships. A person may be depressed if for more than two weeks they have felt sad, down or miserable most of the time or have lost interest in most of the things. To understand what a person with depression goes through, here is the account of Mithali, who struggled with and overcame depression by opening up to a friend:


Mithali’s experience opening up to friend to overcome depression


Over a period of about two months I fell into a deep hole of depression, when several issues came to a head in my life. It all began when schoolwork started to get difficult. After years of easy grades, I suddenly had to work hard for them, and the requirements became more complex and intense. After a while I gave up trying, as I’d convinced myself that I just couldn't do it. I felt lost and confused, with no idea of what I wanted for the future. I lost all motivation. I thought that by giving up and ignoring the difficult things, life would get easier.


Gradually, I became increasingly unhappy with myself and it began affecting other parts of my life, particularly relationships with my family and close friends. I became very removed and distant. My emotions became more intense and I fell deeper into a black hole of depression. Although I maintained the smile and the happy face, I was screaming on the inside for someone to notice how unhappy I was.


My sadness turned to anger, and I became angry at the world, at myself and at everyone else. I began taking my anger out on my family, constantly fighting with Mum. I just didn't know what else to do. I spent a lot of time alone in my room listening to music and crying, trying to escape from the world.


When I finally began to talk about it, suddenly it didn’t seem so bad after all. I opened up to a friend and, after all the tears and emotion, I realised that people did care about me. It was like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I learnt a lot about life as I gradually overcame my depression. It’s not easy, but it's not meant to be easy. It's the challenging times and experiences that make us better and stronger people.


Although I still don't know exactly what I want to do in life, I’ve realised that if you do things that make you happy, you’ll get somewhere that you want to be and you’ll find happiness along the way.


While it is a mental issue, it is important to note some behavioural changes that a depressed person exhibits, so that close friends and loved ones can offer a helping hand before its too late. A person with depression may:

  • Withdraw from close family and friends
  • Stop going out
  • Stop their usual enjoyable activities
  • Not get things done at work or school
  • Rely on alcohol


However, many different treatments are available to manage the symptoms. The symptoms of depression vary among individuals. A treatment plan that includes medical interventions, support, and lifestyle changes can enable a person to live a normal and full life with the condition. If individuals try to come out of depression, they can do that with the help of professionals.