1. Loss of interest in hobbies
Depression has the tendency to suck the fun out of the activities we once enjoyed. Whether it be kicking the footy, going out for a run, playing games or just hanging out with mates, a slump in mental health can make these activities feel like chores, leaving us at home wondering why things have changed. Losing interest in a single hobby is normal, but not wanting to do anything could be a sign of a bigger problem.
2. Alcohol and drug abuse
When our hobbies are stripped away from us, a relationship is falling apart or a new job isn’t living up to the hype, it’s tempting to escape and find joy in something else. Although the use of alcohol and drugs can be manageable in moderation, when things aren’t going as planned, we can rely too heavily on them to fill a hole left by one of life’s many complications. If you notice a close mate going a little too hard, it’s high-time to consider the potential flow-on impacts on their mental health.
3. Unhealthy thought patterns
Rumination is when our thoughts become repetitive, excessive and negativistic and can impede on our sensible and stable thinking patterns. People with depression can get entrenched in these thoughts on a daily basis, weighing them down as they go about their day. If you notice someone being too overly critical, worrisome or hopeless, don’t shrug it off. Noticing is often the first step to saving them from their trance.
4. Withdrawing from social interactions
“Nah, I think I’ll skip this one out fellas.” Sometimes our mates have perfectly valid reasons for not wanting to come out for a drink, but if they brush you off time and time again, something could be off. It’s normal for a muddled mind to want escape from the chatter of a crowd, so don’t let your friends’ absence go unnoticed. Ask the question if they are doing ok.
5. Feeling angry or irritable
When depression hits, men are more likely to report feeling angry or irritable rather than feeling low. Anger is perfectly normal when it’s in proportion to the situation in front of us, but letting rage consume us in the face of a small inconvenience or snapping at an innocent joke could be a sign of a bigger problem, especially if this is uncharacteristic behaviour.
6. Falling behind with studies / work
In an educational or workplace setting, missed deadlines can be a red flag. Instead of chalking it up as laziness, consider that there might be something bigger going in their life that’s hindering their work ethic. Take the time to check in on them and you might just save them from failing or losing their job, which would make their lives that much more difficult.
7. Significant weight loss or gain
Not every weight transformation is something to be suspicious of, nor is it always something to behold. What matters is the reason behind it. Some people strategically set weight goals and accomplish these goals in record times. But others might experience fast weight changes because they’re repelled by the way they look or have an abnormal eating schedule due to stress or other circumstances, sometimes skipping meals. Be the mate who knows the difference.
8. Loss in concentration
Ever finding yourself zoning out or getting easily distracted? Poor mental health has the tendency of sabotaging our ability to concentrate. In turn, our ability to study and work worsens, putting our livelihoods at risk. If you think declining mental health is the culprit, make sure you seek help before more problems arise.
In the grips of mental turmoil, it’s easy to withdraw into your own company and away from the people who care about you. It’s just as tempting to act as if everything is fine when things are nothing but. With these factors against us, our vigilance is needed to recognise when our mates are feeling down so we don’t let them fight it alone.
The importance of understanding these signs, especially the more subtle ones, cannot be understated. Paying close attention to these changes and taking the proper action could potentially be the difference between life and death for a person close to you. Equipped with this knowledge, keep an eye out for any behaviour that might be indicative of a cluttered mind and give them the attention they need to get back on their feet.