Seeing the Signs: Recognizing Depression in Yourself and Others

Depression is a common mood disorder that can cause severe symptoms that affect the way a person thinks, feels, or handles their daily life. With several forms of depression it’s easy to get confused or to minimize how you are feeling.

Here are five symptoms and signs that you or a loved one might be experiencing depression. If you relate to any of these symptoms or begin noticing signs of depression in your loved ones, it’s important that you seek treatment and ask for help.


Trouble Sleeping


It’s expected for most college students to experience sporadic sleep during their college career. However, when feeling depressed there is a significant change in energy. Depression can seriously affect a person’s sleeping patterns. Individuals experiencing depression might not sleep or be oversleeping.


Loss of Interest


One of the first signs of feeling depressed is beginning to lose interest in hobbies or activities that usually bring pleasure. When depressed it’s easy to lose motivation for things you love due to feelings of sadness or emptiness.

If you notice a friend who used to be engaged in hobbies or with classes or work but has begun withdrawing from those activities, it might be time to reach out and check in on how they are doing. 


Change in Weight or Appetite


Our health can become compromised when suffering from depression. In movies when people are depressed they are portrayed as eating ice cream on the couch all day in their pajamas, or lounging and downing bags and bags of chips. 

It might be different for each person but it is important to notice these changes in yourself or friends. If you see that a loved one is not eating as consistently or has a lack of appetite, it might be something to approach them about.


Difficulty Concentrating or Making Decisions


Oftentimes people with depression describe it as a “fog” or a feeling of being underwater.  Additionally, when feeling depressed there is typically a lack of motivation or caring. This makes decision-making difficult and overwhelming. 

If you find yourself having trouble remembering assignments, classes, or conversations with friends, it could be a sign of depression. Focusing can seem impossible at times and it often affects our day to day decisions and remembering small tasks.


Becoming Sluggish


Individuals with depression typically move more sluggishly. Depression can additionally affect our speech due to the fact that individuals experiencing depression have trouble concentrating or clearly expressing their thoughts. 

When depressed it can be seem like your brain is constantly buffering like a phone on bad Wi-Fi. When feeling depressed it can seem impossible to thread words together to create even the simplest of sentences, particularly in the moment when surrounded by friends in conversation.

These aren’t the only signs of depression. Overall it is important to be aware of your own state of mind, and keep an eye out for your friends who seem to be stressed or acting less like themselves.

Particularly, if you or someone you care about is having thoughts of suicide or self-harm it is important to seek immediate help by contacting the Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 and to seek professional medical help such as Counseling and Psychological Services at SUU.