As we enter a new year and a new decade, it’s always important to remember that whilst many of us would have sat around being merry, drinking and eating ourselves into a near-fatal coma over the holidays, a huge number of people would have been suffering from depression, some even suicidal. The holiday season usually sees a large spike in suicides across the globe. Depression is a serious condition for many, caused usually by a chemical imbalance in the brain, traumatic events, or being overwhelmed by the world around you, you cannot simply snap out of it or “cheer up”. Whilst friends, relatives and social groups often offer a helping hand by saying they are there for anyone to talk to if they need help, it’s just not that simple.

Don’t write some hollow shit on Twitter
- Wade MacNeil

If it was as easy as “I feel depressed, I’ll just talk to someone” then literally everyone would be cured of depression by next week. One of the biggest issues for people with depression is feeling alone, even if you’re surrounded by loved ones, you often don’t feel like you can talk to people about how you feel, because most of the time, you don’t actually know how you feel or why you feel that way.

Wade MacNeil, guitarist and singer for Alexisonfire, and Gallows, replacing Frank Carter some years ago, took to social media to voice his opinion on this very problem. “Depression makes you not want to reach out that’s the problem,” he says.

Wade continued “You know when people write about depression online at this time of year and say please reach out. Fuck that. If you’re concerned about the people in your life reach out TO THEM. Don’t write some hollow shit on Twitter.”

And he’s absolutely right. It’s amazing we live in an age where people are being more open about depression and mental health issues, but the root cause of the problem means people are not going to simply drop you a message and say “Hey, I’m depressed, let’s talk”. There are however certain signs you can look out for amongst your friends to spot some common signs of depression taking a grip on someone. They will, of course, differ from person to person but you should be able to spot some pretty obvious ones.

What to look out for

A sudden change in behaviour - Most people have patterns when it comes to their behaviour, daily or weekly patterns. This can be something simple such as turning up for work on time, posting regularly on social media (specifically the types of things they post), the time it takes for them to reply to your text, the detail of conversation in a text or message. If someone you know starts to do things or behave in a way that you notice is unusual for them, it could be a sign of depression or the start of something that could lead to depression. Of course, it could just be that they’ve decided to do things differently and there’s no issue.

Food patterns - A change in someone’s diet can also indicate a change in mental health, positive and negative.

Attitude - Depression doesn’t mean people walk around sad all day, people with depression usually display the same type of positive emotions as they always have, including smiling. Just because someone is smiling doesn’t mean they are happy. However, if you do notice someone that’s usually quite outgoing and upbeat, suddenly change their mood, or display erratic mood swings, again, this could be signs of depression creeping in.

Drinking - This is a big signal. If someone has started to drink a lot more than they usually do then you need to talk to them. Again, it could just be a one-off, but alcohol is one of the biggest depression masks going.

There are so many different signals to depression. The main thing you really need to look out for amongst your friends and relatives is unusual behaviour or something that makes you think “That’s not like them”. If you spot these changes then you need to message them! They’re not going to message you. A simple “Hey, I’ve noticed you’ve not quite been yourself lately, how are you?”

If your friend is acting out of character, message them. You could save their life.

Author Bio: AC Speed

Senior Editor

I started my career as a music journalist in 2013 and have been involved in the music industry as a touring musician, studio engineer and artist consultant since 2002, as well as previously being a signed artist. My passion for delivering high quality, informative music-related news is a daily driving force behind the content I create. Also a huge gaming nerd! Born in the United Kingdom and currently living in Sweden. Skål!


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