October 2023 is National Depression Awareness & Education Month in Shadow Hills and elsewhere around the country. During that month, participants will emphasize the signs, symptoms, and options for treating depression. Participants aim to create greater awareness of depression and how it can be hidden by many people who are suffering from it. Regularly observing and knowing patients’ routines helps in-home care professionals detect signs of depression. Diagnosing depression can be challenging because of its varied symptoms. In this article, we’ll discuss some reasons depression can look so very different among those affected by it.
What exactly is depression?
Depression is a kind of mood disorder that may cause someone to feel anger, sadness, or a sense of loss. Everyone has days where they feel down, but those feelings evaporate within a day or two, and a more normal outlook takes hold again. With depression, the state of sadness or anger persists for weeks or months without letup. It can affect your normal daily activities, perhaps causing you to shun many of your normal tasks and disrupting your routine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that close to 20% of the population may suffer from depression. Unlike temporary sadness, feelings of self-loathing or inadequacy mark depression.
Looks can be deceiving
It is virtually impossible to tell if someone is depressed merely by looking at them. There is a certain stigma attached to depressed people or those suffering from any kind of mental illness. Uninformed people think that the depressed will constantly act sad or downtrodden. Anyone can have this kind of look, whether they’re depressed or just temporarily out of sorts. These days, it’s easier for people to conceal their depression, especially if they’re intentionally trying to hide it. The bottom line is that a person’s behavior or appearance will not convey the fact that they’re depressed, and you’ll need to delve a little deeper in order to discover their true situation.
Why depression looks different for everyone
Some people suffering from depression are not even aware that they’re afflicted, especially if the condition has been slowly developing over a long period. People don’t realize their own depression because it happens slowly. Then too, some sufferers may realize they have depression but wish to hide it from friends and relatives because of the stigma attached to the condition. No one really wants to be known as someone who is suffering from a mental illness.
To avoid being seen as mentally ill, some individuals with depression will go to great lengths to appear normal. But there are many other reasons depression looks different from one patient to the next. First, the cause of someone’s depression is usually totally different from what may have caused the condition in someone else. One person may suffer from depression because they lost a loved one, another because they are unemployed and can’t find work. These two individuals will probably exhibit different behaviors. Losing a loved one can cause immense grief while being unemployed can lead to frustration.
What does depression look like?
Depression can take on many appearances because of what caused the depression in the first place and how the person deals with it. It can be very dangerous to assume that depression looks the same on everyone and that their behavior can easily identify all depressed persons. The danger lies in our inability to recognize the condition of many individuals who exhibit no outward signs of mental illness. Not sharing feelings can have serious consequences for a person with depression. That’s one reason there are so many cases of depression that remain undiagnosed.
If you know someone who is isolating themselves or has had a big life change, recommending they speak with a professional could make a difference. Knowing when to seek help is half the battle.