Signs of depression are often challenging to spot and may explain why many people don’t readily seek therapy for depression. Close friends, family members, and acquaintances might assume “that’s just how they are.” Likewise, depressive symptoms can differ considerably. One depressed individual might appear very different than someone else. Gender also typically has a big impact as well. Males struggling with depression may be more withdrawn, irritable, stressed, or aggressive, while females might cry more, be more sad, upset or moody.

Depression’s symptoms are distinct from the symptoms associated with grief; feeling emotionally weighed down is common and short-term. You might also be able recognise when your friend or loved one’s feelings of sadness and hopelessness interrupt everyday life and continue for longer than two weeks. These symptoms form the “perfect storm” by worsening other symptoms such as sleeping irregularities and changes to eating patterns that can cause the body to not have the proper “fuel” essential to function properly. Other common signs of depression are feeling tired for no reason, an inability to experience pleasure, too much or not enough sleep, crying, thoughts of death or suicide, trouble concentrating, weight changes, and feelings of guilt and worthlessness.

Hopelessness is among one of the most common signs of a person who is depressed. Unfortunately, feelings of hopelessness can discourage individuals from seeking the therapy for depression which can help. Anyone suffering from extreme hopelessness doesn’t believe they’ll ever feel better, which explains why some attempt suicide, reasoning it’s their only way out. For many people with depression, feelings of hopelessness are cultivated over time through a history of failures. These failures can be either real or imagined, with self-criticism playing the largest role in the latter.

Dealing with depression is a serious issue. If you suspect someone you know is showing signs of depression, it’s essential to know you’re not alone and that there’s help available. Qualified professionals such as therapists and doctors are more than willing to offer assistance and guidance. While you may not be able to convince someone to seek therapy for depression, your love and support can play a significant role in helping them realise their need to get help. And remember, depression can cause fatigue and apathy, making it difficult for your loved one to find the motivation to seek therapy. You may need to take an active role in encouraging your loved one to reach out to others.

If you or someone you know is suffering from depression, please contact Brian Burgess on 020 3096 6277 for a free initial consultation. Brian is a therapist and counsellor and an associate of the National Counselling Society.