Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
Fatigue and decreased energy
Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
Overeating or appetite loss
Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive
problems that do not ease even with treatment
Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings
Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts.
Depression carries a high risk of suicide. Anybody who expresses suicidal thoughts or intentions should be taken very, very seriously. Do not hesitate to call your local suicide hotline immediately. Call 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) -- or the deaf hotline at 1-800-799-4TTY (1-800-799-4889).
Warning signs of ...suicide with depression include:
A sudden switch from being very sad to being very calm or appearing to be happy
Always talking or thinking about death
Clinical depression (deep sadness, loss of interest, trouble sleeping and eating) that gets worse
Having a "death wish," tempting fate by taking risks that could lead to death, such as driving through red lights
Losing interest in things one used to care about
Making comments about being hopeless, helpless, or worthless
Putting affairs in order, tying up loose ends, changing a will
Saying things like "It would be better if I wasn't here" or "I want out"
Talking about suicide (killing one's self)
Visiting or calling people one cares about
Remember, if you or someone you know is demonstrating any of the above warning signs of suicide with depression, either call your local suicide hot line, contact a mental health professional right away, or go to the emergency room for immediate treatment.
◾Depression is a serious condition. Don’t underestimate the seriousness of depression. Depression drains a person’s energy, optimism, and motivation. Your depressed loved one can’t just “snap out of it” by sheer force of will.
◾The symptoms of depression aren’t personal. Depression makes it difficult for a person to connect on a deep emotion...al level with anyone, even the people he or she loves most. In addition, depressed people often say hurtful things and lash out in anger. Remember that this is the depression talking, not your loved one, so try not to take it personally.
◾Hiding the problem won’t make it go away. Don’t be an enabler. It doesn’t help anyone involved if you are making excuses, covering up the problem, or lying for a friend or family member who is depressed. In fact, this may keep the depressed person from seeking treatment.
◾You can’t “fix” someone else’s depression. Don’t try to rescue your loved one from depression. It’s not up to you to fix the problem, nor can you. You’re not to blame for your loved one’s depression or responsible for his or her happiness (or lack thereof). Ultimately, recovery is in the hands of the depressed person.
Remember that being a compassionate listener is much more important than giving advice!
Being supportive involves offering encouragement and hope. Very often, this is a matter of talking to the person in language that he or she will understand and respond to while in a depressed mind frame.
What you can say that helps:
◾ You are not a...lone in this. I’m here for you.
◾ You may not believe it now, but the way you’re feeling will change.
◾ I may not be able to understand exactly how you feel, but I care about you and want to help.
◾ When you want to give up, tell yourself you will hold on for just one more day, hour, minute — whatever you can manage.
◾ You are important to me. Your life is important to me.
◾ Tell me what I can do now to help you.
◾ It’s all in your head.
◾ We all go through times like this.
◾ Look on the bright side.
◾ You have so much to live for why do you want to die?
◾ I can’t do anything about your situation.
◾ Just snap out of it.
◾ What’s wrong with you?
◾ Shouldn’t you be better by now?
One of the most important things you can do to help a friend or relative with depression is to give your unconditional love and support throughout the treatment process. This involves being compassionate and patient, which is not always easy when dealing with the negativity, hostility, and moodiness that go hand in hand with depression.
◾Provide whatev...er assistance the person needs (and is willing to accept). Help your loved one make and keep appointments, research treatment options, and stay on schedule with any treatment prescribed.
◾Have realistic expectations. It can be frustrating to watch a depressed friend or family member struggle, especially if progress is slow or stalled. Having patience is important. Even with optimal treatment, recovery from depression doesn’t happen overnight.
◾Lead by example. Encourage your friend or family member to lead a healthier, mood-boosting lifestyle by doing it yourself: maintain a positive outlook, eat better, avoid alcohol and drugs, exercise, and lean on others for support.
◾Encourage activity. Invite your loved one to join you in uplifting activities, like going to a funny movie or having dinner at a favorite restaurant. Exercise is especially helpful, so try to get your depressed loved one moving. Going on walks together is one of the easiest options. Be gently and lovingly persistent—don’t get discouraged or stop asking.
◾Pitch in when possible. Seemingly small tasks can be hard for a depressed person to manage. Offer to help out with household responsibilities or chores, but only do what you can without getting burned out yourself!