9 Signs Your Friend is Secretly Depressed

Hey Optimist Minds!

Depression is a mood disorder that can affect a person’s daily life. It may be described as feelings of sadness, loss, exhaustion, or anger. When you’re depressed, you see negative changes in how you feel, the way you think and how you act.

Sadly, due to the stigma related to mental health issues, most people struggling with this condition prefer to keep it private or be in denial. Nevertheless, since the impact of depression is quite pervasive, it is possible to recognise the symptoms.

If you have a friend who seems to be depressed, but you’re not sure about it, this video can be of use. We’re going to describe nine signs your friend is secretly depressed. Knowing these signs can help you protect the people close to you by getting them the intervention they need.

It’s important to note that this video is only meant for educational purposes. For an official diagnosis, one must consult a licensed therapist.

Now, let’s begin.


Their smiles seem fake these days.

Observe the frequency and quality of your friend’s facial expressions of joy and amusement. Do they react less often to things that usually would have made them smile? When they do smile, does it seem forced? 

You can tell by noticing whether their eyes match the expression. Even when depressed individuals fake their happiness, their eyes never lie.


You sense they’re low on self-esteem.

Has your friend started comparing themselves to others? Do they talk about themselves in negative ways? 

Depression causes self-esteem levels to drop drastically. You might notice that your friend is now more hesitant to take up new opportunities, interact with large groups of people, or put themselves out there.


They say they will join you for plans but don’t show up.

Does your friend suddenly cancel plans at the last minute? Depression causes social withdrawal. You don’t feel like meeting people or going out of the house. It could be that your friend really wants to come but they’re unable to because of the uncontrollable negative thoughts racing in their head.


Their eyes often seem puffy.

Frequent crying and emotional outbursts are common when you’re depressed. Crying for prolonged periods of time can make your face red and swollen, especially around the eyes. You might even catch your friend getting teary eyed more than usual.

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.


They don’t participate in their hobbies anymore.

If your friend is passionate about an interest, they might seem less inclined to engage in it. Depression causes people to lose interest in things that they used to enjoy doing. Your friend probably feels too tired or upset to put in the effort. Moreover, they’re no longer able to derive pleasure from their favourite activities.


They now have trouble making eye contact.

Does your friend avoid looking right at you? Research shows that depressed patients maintained eye contact for only about one-fourth of the time that nondepressed patients do. Your friend may also avoid other non-verbal cues of intimacy like proximity and touch.


Their recent social media posts reveal sadness.

Does your friend’s online presence indicate any negative thoughts or perceptions? Perhaps they used to be very active on various platforms but have suddenly stopped posting things. Or, maybe they’re sharing a lot of memes about misery and suicide. Watch out for any such patterns that might show signs of depression.


They’ve increased their substance use.

Sometimes, depression might trigger an addiction as people try to escape their sorrows by smoking, drinking or doing drugs. Your friend might use substances as a coping mechanism to numb their intense feelings. If they were already taking them earlier, you may see an increase in dosage.


You’ve noticed a change in their sleeping and eating patterns.

This can be harder to notice unless you meet your friend quite regularly. Two major symptoms in depression include an increase or decrease in sleep and appetite. You might observe that your friend either sleeps too much or isn’t getting enough rest. Similarly, they may start binge-eating on junk food or eat less than their usual portions.

Did any of these signs remind you of a friend of yours? Do you think they might be depressed? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

A link for further reading and the studies & references used in the making of this video are mentioned in the description below.

Thanks for visiting optimist minds, take care. Until next time.


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