Depression is a term used a little too broadly to describe people who are “feeling down,” but it’s so much more than that.

Depression impacts more than 350 million people globally and it is a real illness. Sadness is an emotion, but depression is something else entirely.

Many times, due to stigma associated with depression, the people we love will hide it.

Here’s how to tell if you partner is concealing their illness.

1. Sudden loss of interest.

One of the hallmarks of people with depression is that, where they once had numerous interests and hobbies, they’ve suddenly lost all interest in pursuing any of those interests.

If your partner is suddenly no longer interested in anything they once loved, it could be a result of depression.

2. Isolation.

Along side with losing interest in hobbies, they may also lose interest in their friends, going out, and possibly even spending time with you.

It’s not because they no longer love you, but depression is a major illness.

If they’re withdrawing from you, they may be depressed.

3. Substance abuse.

One of the ways depressed people try to cope with their illness is through substance abuse, like alcoholism, and other, harder drugs.

Another sign of hidden depression is an uptick in substance abuse.

4. Insomnia.

The common image of depressed people are people who sleep all day and never get out of bed. Part of that impression is a result of insomnia.

Those with depression often have trouble sleeping at night. If your partner is exhibiting this sign, particularly in conjunction with others, hidden depression may be the cause.

5. Exhaustion.

This one ties in with #4. The erratic, often sleepless nights lead to incredible fatigue and exhaustion. This is yet another sign of underlying depression.

So you think your partner might be secretly depressed: what do you do next? Being confrontational about it is definitely the wrong idea, as is telling them to buck up and get over it.

The best thing you can do is keep an eye on the situation, all while being supportive of whatever it is they need.

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