There are several medical illnesses which are unnoticeable to the casual observer, and depression is one of them.* Depression is a sense of sadness which lasts for a lengthy period of time. The difficulty can occur from medications, aging, stress, genetics, learned behavior, life events, biochemical environment (organic), and a host of other reasons. Sometimes there are unknown causations. Depression is painful because the individual can experience body aches, a loss of sleep and appetite, motivation, self-esteem, and they may no longer engage in activities which were fulfilling. Irritability and a history of angry outbursts (anger management issues) are also symptoms of depression. One of the results from depression is a lower immune system, providing a window for physical ailments. The brain can become damaged from long-term depression, in which case psychotropic medication is required. With all of these particulars to consider, how should we respond when a loved one informs us they’re feeling depressed?
People who experience cancer, broken limbs, lupus, arthritis, sclerosis of the liver, bronchitis, etc. would be taken seriously because these are physically-oriented conditions. In the same manner, depression should be taken seriously, even though we’re incapable of seeing the illness.** We must always demonstrate compassion by listening, suggesting therapy, and possibly accompanying them to therapy sessions to show support. Compassion might be the most important step for loved ones returning towards a positive mental health.
*There are individuals who experience depression and may not realize it. They may have indicated they felt emotionally out of sorts, unwell, just a little blue, and believe, mistakenly, their emotional state is an acceptable way of living.
**All conditions which require visits to a medical practitioner should be taken seriously.