Depression is a term often thrown about when we’re feeling down – when things aren’t going according to plan. But behind depressed is much more than just that.
Using depression to describe a mood that is fleeting isn’t an accurate description of the disease that, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), affects over 350 million people globally. “Sadness is an emotion, whereas depression is an illness,” says psychiatrist Ken Robbins of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Depression afflicts so many people worldwide, so it’s likely that you or someone you know has battled the disease at some point in their life. Being in a relationship with someone who suffers from depression isn’t easy, and it’s especially more difficult if you aren’t aware that they are affected by it. Pay attention to the following signs in your partner, as these might point to concealed depression.
Seven Signs Your Partner Is Depressed
When someone is depressed, they’re often reluctant to be in the company of others. Part of this is a lack of interest, and part is the fear of being the Debbie Downer of the group. There is also a fear of being rejected by others, which increases the reluctance to engage socially.
They might have one or more of these characteristics:
– Few or no friends
– Labeled as newly “anti-social”
– Cancelling social events at the last minute
– Avoiding face-to-face contact with others
– Friends, family and others are concerned with lack of interaction
– Low self-esteem
2. LOSS OF INTEREST
This is a big one. Activities that used to bring such joy and fulfillment to the person no longer do. Needless to say, this is painful for both the individual and those who care for them. The afflicted person can even lose interest in their spouse or children, often leading to bigger problems.
It’s also worth mentioning that necessary but less engaging tasks (work, chores, etc.) become more arduous and are often ignored or done hastily.
3. SUBSTANCE ABUSE
Navigating the ups and downs of life is difficult enough, but for the depressed it is nearly impossible at times. To escape this trap, they often turn to the use of alcohol or drugs. Understandably, alcohol and drug use occurs because the person is seeking to numb their pain or feel the happiness that they long for. However, this only works for a short while and as tolerance increases so does the likelihood of addiction.
4. MOOD SWINGS
Chemical imbalances in the brain often lead to abrupt changes in mood. A depressed person can go from happy to crying to something else within a short span of time. Things and events that used to cause little to no reaction – a sarcastic joke, for example – now cause fits of anger or irritability. If someone you care about is demonstrating these sorts of changes, understand that it can be due to depression. Don’t judge too hastily, however; normal changes in hormones can lead to mood swings as well.