How to Know if a Loved One is Suffering from Anxiety and/or Depression

Depressed woman sitting and looking out of a window

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I recently spoke about the things you shouldn’t say to those that suffer from anxiety, but what if you aren’t sure if they are actually suffering? You may be surprised by this, but according to the ADAA, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States, or 18.1% of the population every year. What this means is, someone, if not multiple people in your life, are suffering from some type of anxiety or depression. And they may be doing such a great job of hiding it, you don’t even realize it.

As someone that has suffered with both anxiety and depression for many years, I can tell you that there are signs that your loved one is suffering. While not everyone who exhibits these characteristics is having mental health issues, it’s quite possible that those who are, exhibit many of these characteristics as a result of their anxiety and/or depression.

If you ask my family and friends, they will probably tell you that they’ve witnessed me experience each of these symptoms at some point of my life.  When my anxiety and depression is at its worst, I may experience all of them at once.

It’s important to mention that I am not a professional or a doctor. I’m just a Mom who speaks publicly about my struggles with anxiety and depression. These warning signs are largely based on my own experience. I’m hoping that they will help others to identify what may be happening to themselves or their loved one.

  • Loss of Interest
  • Lack of Urgency for Personal Hygiene
  • Trouble Sleeping or Fatigue
  • Difficulty Concentrating and/or Remembering
  • Irritability
  • Avoiding Social Gatherings or Crowds
  • Worrying Excessively or Irrational Fears
  • Guilt 

Do any of these symptoms look familiar to you?

I am personally well aware of each symptom, as it’s happening, but my anxiety doesn’t allow me to do anything about it. In most cases, when I realize any of these are happening, I panic and it makes my anxiety even worse.

I often feel like a different person than I was before my anxiety and I don’t recognize myself. These feelings push me until I give in and take a personal day. Other times, when I know that I have a deadline or something that has to be done, I push through them, but usually find myself in bed for a full day afterward.

It’s important to remember that anxiety and depression is different for everyone. There is no easy fix. There is not one remedy that works for everyone. We all have to figure out what works for each of us and if it stops working, learn to adapt and make the necessary changes. The most important thing we can do is not ignore the signs.

While meds weren’t the answer for me, they do help a lot of people. For some, it’s a matter of changing their diet and their routine. For others, yoga and meditation are key. I haven’t found my magic combination yet, but I know I will. It’s a constant battle, but a battle that I will never stop fighting.

If you or a loved one needs help with mental health issues, please consult a physician.

Follow along on my journey with anxiety.

Your loved one might be suffering from anxiety or depression. You might not know it, but there are signs to look for.

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Hello There!

I'm so honored that you've found us! I'm Heather, a Mom of 3 who blogs about parenting, food, occasional travel and how I overcame my daily struggle with anxiety. I miss sleeping and rely on coffee and laughter to get me through the day. I hope you enjoy and visit often!

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  1. I appreciate your kindness for sharing this post, we all know how important to know if someone in our family is dealing with stress. For making this list it will contribute a lot for making others aware. Thanks, Heather for writing this article!

  2. I think my partner has depression but he won’t open up to me about it :'( I really don’t know how to help him because he’s completely shutting me out now where he wouldn’t have a few months ago.

    Louise x

    1. Post

      It’s possible. Some people aren’t ready to open up about it. But just make it known that you’re there, for when he’s ready to talk about it.

  3. I am suffering from small anxiety attacks everyday and for me it’s always trouble sleeping and worrying.

  4. It’s really helpful for me to read through the warning signs you shared. Sometimes it’s hard to know if someone is just struggling temporarily or if it’s more serious.

  5. This is a huge problem in my family. I have become an expert because everyone has a different presentation.

  6. Such an important subject to highlight and share. It can be so difficult to realize the signs and symptoms…thank you for bringing it to our attention and raising awareness.

  7. Super important post for sure. It can be so hard to tell, but when you look for these subtle signs it becomes much clearer and then you can begin to understand and help x

  8. Thank you for writing this post. We must all be very vigilant in spotting the signs of anxiety and depression. These are not easy to deal with, I know because I have had depression before. It was a good thing I was able to get medical attention before things got worse.

  9. This is such good information to know, Heather! Thanks for sharing. I feel like its sometimes people you aren’t even expecting are the ones that are really struggling.

  10. Sometimes it’s hard to spot people with depression and anxiety because others seems to hide it quite well. If you know a person who you think have this signs then it’s good to be at least be there for that person.

  11. This is a great tip list to help recognize the signs. It’s so important to offer a supportive and comfortable space for your family and loved ones during challenging times.

  12. My friend suffer from anxiety and depression and I think it’s important that we raise awareness on this. People often would judge you, call you lazy, pathetic, overly dramatic, sensitive, without thinking if you’re suffering from a mental illness or not. It’s not seen so they think you’re functioning well when you’re not.

  13. This is a great post to share the awareness of depression. Depression can be a serious illness as I have relatives who suicide because of that.

  14. depression affects so many and sometimes you just don’t see it. this is a great post. such great info!!

  15. Been there. I’m a very socialable, happy, extravert person and noticed during middle school that my daughter was always unhappy and irritable for no reason. She was suffering from social anxiety. She just graduated from college and is doing so much better. It is a tough road.

  16. More and more people need to speak about depression, so glad you are sharing about the warning signs

  17. It’s really hard to admit that you have anxiety or depression. Sometimes it takes courage to say it. You have to be more strong about it.

  18. You are absolutely right. Many times you don’t know someone else suffers from anxiety because they don’t announce it. I have dealt with PTSD since I was a youth and have rarely disclosed that to friends. But when a flare-up comes I recognize it from the loss of interest, fatigue, and irritability. If only others saw it and could act with more compassion… Thanks for raising awareness of this important issue.

  19. I have a couple of loved ones that I need to keep an eye on because I know how straining anxiety can be. Some of them exude these signs and I want to be there for them!

  20. So good to know these signs. Seems that for now I don’t have anyone in my family that suffers from anxiety and depression. But I know that it’s so easy to suffer from depression and almost everyone suffered at least once in his life!

  21. Sometimes I feel like I’m having some anxiety. But not in a big level. Thank you for sharing this.

  22. It is good to know the signs and symptoms so that we can help our loved ones. Depression is a tough thing.

  23. Having these signs of depression and anxiety play a very helpful role in educating us all. We cannot prevent these conditions, but we can and should become aware of what they warning signs are.

  24. Boy, does this hit home! I am the person with the anxiety and sometimes it is another family member! When mine rolls around I fixate on like one thing with myself and feel doomed.

    1. Post

      I’m so sorry that you are going through it too. I completely relate to how you feel. If you ever need an ear, I’m here.

  25. This is great info. as someone who suffers from both in a family full of relatives that suffer from both, it’s important for people to know the symptoms and be more understanding of them too because we don’t choose to feel the way we do.

  26. This came the right time, with this I can figure what my niece is going through, thank you so much for the article.

  27. Depression is a very serious thing that too many people don’t take serious. This was a great and informative read.

  28. This is an extremely important topic. Depression can be concealed, and we don’t realize it until it’s too late. It’s so difficult to identify. Thank you for sharing these warning signs. We can all do our part to identify and help those that we care for and love the best we can.

  29. This is so, so important. Depression is such an insidious thing. It’s so hard to spot. Thank you for sharing what to look for. Often times, people with depression can’t or won’t ask for help, so it’s up to us to be aware of the symptoms.