Recognizing Signs of Depression

Image result for depression

Depression is a terrifying experience, one that can make someone feel like there is nothing left in this world.  Usually it starts small and works itself up to something much bigger.

One moment someone can be happy and the next they can be feeling completely numb, emotionless.  Some use a smile to hide what they are feeling.  This is why it’s important for people to be able to notice the warning signs of depression.

Symptoms can range in severity depending on the individual.  Not everyone is the same, so every depressed individual will experience the symptoms differently.

When symptoms start to worsen, this is where people start to self-harm and start moving towards suicidal tendencies.  Their behavior can become irrational, impulsive, or withdrawn.  At this point, their self-esteem is extremely low and life to them no longer means anything.

So how can we pull people back from that ledge?  How can we make sure that no one has to get to that point?

Recognize the signs.  Some can be quite noticeable.  People with depression put a smile on their face and pretend to be happy, when they feel quite differently inside.  But the truth of the matter is, they can’t always mask their symptoms.

Be attentive to how another person acts.  Behavior is noticeable and it’s a great way to catch the warning signs that a person is heading in the wrong direction.  Yes, it’s easier said than done.  But it is possible to pick up on social cues.

How do you notice these symptoms?  Well let’s talk about them.

Sleep Patterns

There are two forms of sleep patterns: insomnia and hypersomnia.  Insomnia occurs when a person doesn’t sleep enough.  These people can’t sleep, wake up constantly throughout the night, and are up too early.  They don’t feel rested and tend to become sleepy during daytime hours.

Hypersomnia, on the other hand, occurs when a person sleeps too much.  They can fall asleep during daytime activities, such as work.  They tend to take naps throughout the daytime, while also sleeping during the nighttime hours.  People with hypersomnia always feel tired, despite all their hours of sleep.


In people with depression, you will commonly see a lack of motivation to do things. For example, college students who have depression will skip classes because they lack the motivation to go.  Adults will call off work, because they have no motivation to go in.

Individuals with depression will commonly have little energy to perform tasks, even the smallest of tasks.  They won’t always put in the effort that is required for certain tasks.  For example, a mother asks her daughter, who has depression, to bring her laundry up from the basement.  The daughter puts it off for as long as she can because she feels tired and has no energy to carry the basket or walk up the stairs.

Physical Symptoms

Image result for depression physical symptoms on a skeleton

One physical symptom that can become quite noticeable is appetite.  Depression, in most cases, causes loss of appetite.  Because of not eating properly or maintaining a healthy diet, individuals usually lose weight.  Losing weight then leads to malnutrition.  Malnutrition is a term that refers to people who are not getting the proper nutrients they need to live a healthy life.

Other physical symptoms include fatigue or body aches and pains.  Fatigue is seen when a person becomes noticeably exhausted or tired.  Aches and pains are another noticeable sign.  People commonly report pain in their back, chest, and knees.  However, the pain can be reported in other places as well, such as muscle aches.


Depression comes with incredible and unwanted baggage.  The kind of baggage that leads to negative self-image and feelings of worthlessness.  Negative self-esteem is all about not being good enough.  It’s about not being worthy enough.  It’s about being a failure.

Image result for negative self esteem

Negative self-esteem drives people with depression into an empty, hollow life.  A life with no happiness and no social support.  It’s a life void of positive thoughts and success.  These people believe that their life is not important.  And to them, that’s okay, because no one will notice when they are gone.

How Can I Notice and How Can I Help?

Well, I’m glad you asked.  It’s never too late to make an impact on someone’s life.  It’s never too late to be their guardian angel, to step in and show them what they are worth.  As humans, we strive to be noticed and cherished.  People with depression, no matter how withdrawn they seem, need the love and support that everyone else receives.

When someone tells you ‘I’m tired because I haven’t been sleeping well’ or ‘My back has been hurting for a few days now and I don’t know why.’ Alarm bells should be sounding.  Take a minute to stop and just ask ‘Are you okay?’ If you see a person zone out or you see they look more worn out than usual.  Stop and ask ‘How is everything going?’

Small gestures such as a simple conversation can go a long way for people with depression.  It shows that someone cares about how they feel or how they are doing.

Image result for depression person helping

Anyone else have any other ideas or ways that you could help people with depression?  Maybe some of you have already helped someone with depression before.  If you’d like to, comment your stories or share your thoughts in the comments below!


Author: Brittany Knauss

I have been living my life alongside depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder. My goal for this blog is to reach out to others that have similar mental illness and help to offer them some positivity. I have been learning more and more about how to bring more positive energy into my life and I would like to offer some of that to other people. This is also to help educate friends or family who know someone struggling with mental illness so they can help their loved ones and offer them some strengthening support. Social support is a huge factor in positive psychology!

4 thoughts on “Recognizing Signs of Depression”

  1. I really like how you structured your post with really good information. Depression, as you say, comes in so many different forms and symptoms and no two people are alike. I prefer to follow blogs like yours because they are real and impactful. Amazing work. Keep up with the good work.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Brittany….you have written a marvelous article on depression. First of all, let me introduce myself. My name is Alice. I became a friend of your Mom’s when she was taking care of my husband at Easton Hospital. My husband, Jim was diagnosed with Stage 4 esophageal cancer with liver metastases back in 2011. She was not only a wonderful oncology nurse to my husband, but she also somehow managed to keep me afloat as I was dealing with tremendous nervousness, depression and anxiety, and this has been with me throughout most of my life, and as you know I’m sure, it is not an easy road. Your article is right on with how to recognize the symptoms. My self-esteem was low as a young girl, I felt I had no worth, felt I wasn’t pretty or smart. This often led to my weight problem. It has taken me most of my life to realize that I do have worth, I am a good person, and at 65 years of age, I’m still not too bad looking and have gotten a good grip on my weight issues, losing a considerable amount of weight. But what a waste of a lifetime to not value yourself as is often common in depression. I realize now that I was a pretty girl and intelligent, I just never thought so. My parents used to build me up as did my husband as much as possible and finally the day came when I was able to see my own inner beauty and value as a woman and a person. It’s too bad when it can sometime take a lifetime to realize this, and to waste time suffering from depression when therebis help out there. People need to become more educated and social support is indeed beneficial. Everyone can use a shoulder to lean on. That shoulder for me was always my Mom….she too suffered from the same as I and throughout my life, we continued to shoulder each other. I believe my Mom exhibited signs of hyperinsomnia mostly. She always seemed to retreat to her bed even not long after getting up for the day. I was the opposite and still am with insomnia. There is so much to be gained through knowledge on this affliction. I thank God every day for my Mom’s insight on the topic. Even though I helped her at times when I knew she was down, I believe that she helped me more. Knowledge and support are power. I hope you keep writing more on the subject, Brittany. I’ve read your blogs and you certainly do know what you’re talking about. Keep it going as I’ll be looking for more to read on this very important topic. Both my Mom and my husband have passed away since and I miss them terribly. I find strength in the wisdom that my Mom instilled in me and realize even more so just how much love my husband loved me, this has been a positive reinforcement in my life and whenever I seem to feel as though I am slipping backwards, I often remember Mom’s words and how no one needs to suffer and carry those burdens and I remember how my husband thought there was no one like me. I was also very blessed to have a wonderful and supportive Father in my life. He was always there for me. I have lost these three wonderful and supportive members in my family since but I vow to keep on living and seeking help as I need to as I know they’d want me to. Thank you Brittany for your wonderful insight. Alice

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and your story. It takes a great strength to realize how much worth you truly do have. I’m so glad you were able to realize that. And even though you have lost a good portion of life, you still realized that you are worth more than you think. Not many people with depression are able to do that at any point and often carry the weight until they pass on from this life. All I want is that these articles spread the word about depression, to show how grave and large this topic really is, and to educate people on the severity and how to help decrease that severity. Depression is a burden that will not go away but with a good social support that burden can lessen considerably. Once again thank you so much for reading and there will be more to come!


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