We need to pay more attention to the people in our lives who may suffer from depression. We may not even know they are prone to depression but just keeping an eye out for subtle changes from a person’s normal demeanour may have the potential to drastically help alter someone’s life in a positive way.

Recognising the early warning signs of depression and acting on it in some way gives the person feeling these symptoms a chance to get help.

The cloak of depression is not selective with who it chooses to wrap its darkness around and this could affect your family, friends, co-workers and even yourself. Recently an acquaintance talked about depression online and he described it as:

“A horrible, horrible, horrible damn thing to have, let me tell you. When in a bad bout of depression I lose all enjoyment of the wonders of life. I start to think negatively of the past and the future. Then I isolate myself. I don't talk. Will not answer the phone. I sleep less.  Eating is a chore. I over think things. My self-care and maintenance like showering and shaving goes out the window. The main problem of my depression in the past has been not talking. Unless you have had depression, anxiety, panic attacks etc... you really don't understand what goes on in someone's head and body when riddled with negativity and darkness.”

signs of depression
The signs of depression are clearly stated in his description and some of them are relatively simple to spot. Let’s take a look:

Some Simple Signs of Depression


Everybody gets sad at some point so be careful of understanding the difference between a downswing in mood and the deeper ramifications of the depressive state. Of course, someone who is sad may still need a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen to; so do what you can to cheer them up.

The difference with depression is that it can take over your day to day life, affecting your work, daily habits, social encounters and inner motivation. So if someone you know appears to be sad, talk to them and listen to what they have to say and you will get a better understanding of how deep the sadness goes.


Ever had an encounter with someone you know really well and are comfortable with and it feels awkward, like you are meeting them for the first time? There could be multiple reasons for this but an important one could be a sign of a depressed person. A normally social, bubbly person who slowly turns distant and the regular, normal visits and chats begin to dissipate until suddenly you realise that the person has not left their house for weeks on end.
Call them! Knock on their door and get them to talk, listen to what they say and show them some love.


Something that used to give a person so much joy and pleasure suddenly becomes a chore for them or the react to it with negativity. These reactions can be misconstrued as someone being just a killjoy but take a closer look and dig deep. If this person reacts to nearly every positive in a negative way then this is a huge sign that depression has reared its ugly head.

Irritation and Anger:

When someone is depressed tries to tackle normal day to day activities they can become frustrated at their inability to deal with them in a capable way. Small obstacles within the day become huge issues and the frustration in many cases leads to a reaction of anger. Look out for these changes within your contact circle and find out if there is more than ‘just having a bad day’.

Lack of pride in oneself:

You may have a friend or a colleague who normally presents themselves impeccably and in recent times you have noticed that their appearance has become slovenly yet they do not seem to care. Depression can make the smallest tasks appear huge (like washing and dressing) and if you mix that with a feeling of low confidence and an apathetic attitude then it is very likely that a person can change the presentation of their appearance very quickly.

Suicidal Thoughts:

When you hear comments like ‘what’s the point in life’ or ‘wouldn't it be simple to jump off a cliff’ then please, please take these words from someone very seriously! This sounds quite an obvious reaction however; some comments can be said in a joking manner and then dismissed very quickly by the recipient. These are very serious signs that someone is in a depression that needs urgent attention. The myth that if a person is suicidal, they won’t talk about it but just act, is exactly just a myth. A person who is in this frame of mind needs help very quickly.

People might not see these exact signs but they may notice that something is different; something is wrong but cannot put their finger on it. If you do feel there is someone who has changed in a way that differs from their normal behaviour then just take the time to seek them out and let them know you care. By talking and listening to a person who exhibit signs you are helping in a tremendous way and you are also in a position to discover if greater help is needed.

If you don’t understand, get help. You just may make someone’s life a better life to live.


Get in touch for a personal, confidential consultation with David Ellis.