Is Your BFF Depressed or Just Tired?

It can be difficult to tell if your friend is depressed. Maybe he's just stressing about a test? Maybe its just been a rough week for her? However, there are signs that your friend could be struggling with some real issues, and just might need your help.

Favorite Hobbies:

Maybe they used to love shopping. When you used to mention shopping, they'd be all like:

But now they're all like:

Loss in interest in hobbies is a big sign of being depressed. Whether it's sports, art, music, cooking, or any other activity, if your friend starts showing little to no interest in something that they used to love, just ask what's going on. 

Eating can also be a pretty big sign. If you used to ask your friend if they wanted pizza, and they used to be like:

But now, when pizza is offered:

Eating habits are a big deal when it comes to things like depression and anxiety. If you notice a big change - like eating a lot more or a lot less - take notice. Again, the answer is to always ask. Your friend could be working through not only a mental illness, but an eating disorder. 

Sleep. Sleep is amazing, but can be an indicator of these illnesses. For instance, your friend who is a total morning person is now like this all the time:

Or your friend who practically hibernates now is exhausted all of the time because they have trouble sleeping and end up doing this all of the time:

This can be a big deal. People with depression can both have trouble sleeping at night and not want to get out of bed to face the day. 

If you've noticed any or all of these things in one of your friends, the next step is to approach them and ask about it. I know, this can be horribly awkward and difficult, but as a good friend they might need you to start this conversation. Just begin by saying "I've noticed you haven't quite been acting yourself lately, is everything okay?" They could be nervous, and not come out with the real answer, but if your friend tells you that they have been feeling like this, an important thing to know is that they are not broken.

They don't need to be fixed. They need support. Be there for them, listen to their problems, answer their questions, and be available to take them to doctors' appointments. If they're not going out as much, plan some time where the two of you can hang out and do some of your old favorite things, it just might make their day. Hyperbole and a Half wrote one of my favorite articles describing depression. I'd highly recommend reading it so you can get a good idea of what's going on. If nothing else, she's a brilliant writer and you'll get a good laugh. 

As someone who has been through depression quite a bit, I know that it can be an embarassing topic for someone to bring up. There is no easy way to say "Hi, I'm depressed and I have really dark thoughts sometimes" without the fear of scaring someone or them looking down on you. First off, to those of you actually going through something like this, your depression does not make you any less. Your feelings are vaild just because you feel them, and your true friends will always be there to help you without judgement. Don't be afraid, just tell them what's going on and how they can help.

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