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30 Things People Don't Realize You're Doing Because of Your Depression

While most people imagine depression equals “really sad,” unless you’ve experienced depression yourself, you might not know it goes so much deeper than that. Depression expresses itself in many different ways, some more obvious than others. While some people have a hard time getting out of bed, others might get to work just fine — it’s different for everyone.

To find out how depression shows itself in ways other people can’t see, we asked our mental health community to share one thing people don’t realize they’re doing because they have depression.

Here’s what they had to say:

1. “In social situations, some people don’t realize I withdraw or don’t speak much because of depression. Instead, they think I’m being rude or purposefully antisocial.” — Laura B.

2. “I struggle to get out of bed, sometimes for hours. Then just the thought of taking a shower is exhausting. If I manage to do that, I am ready for a nap. People don’t understand, but anxiety and depression is exhausting, much like an actual physical fight with a professional boxer.” — Juli J.

3. “Agreeing to social plans but canceling last minute. Using an excuse but really you just chickened out. It makes you think your friends don’t actually want to see you, they just feel bad. Obligation.” — Brynne L.

4. “Hiding in my phone. Yes, I am addicted to it, but not like other people. I don’t socialize, I play games or browse online stores to distract myself from my negative thoughts. It’s my safe bubble.” — Eveline L.

5. “Going to bed at 9 p.m. and sleeping throughout the night until 10 or 11 a.m.” — Karissa D.

6.Isolating myself, not living up to my potential at work due to lack of interest in anything, making self-deprecating jokes. I’ve said many times before, ‘I laugh, so that I don’t cry.’ Unfortunately, it’s all too true.” — Kelly K.

7. “When I reach out when I’m depressed it’s ’cause I am wanting to have someone to tell me I’m not alone. Not because I want attention.” — Tina B.

8. “I don’t like talking on the phone. I prefer to text. Less pressure there. Also being anti-social. Not because I don’t like being around people, but because I’m pretty sure everyone can’t stand me.” — Meghan B.

9. “I overcompensate in my work environment… and I work front line at a Fitness Centre, so I feel the need to portray an ‘extra happy, bubbly personality.’ As soon as I walk out the doors at the end of the day, I feel myself ‘fall.’ It’s exhausting… I am a professional at hiding it.” — Lynda H.

10. “The excessive drinking. Most people assume I’m trying to be the ‘life of the party’ or just like drinking in general. I often get praised for it. But my issues are much deeper than that.” — Teresa A.

11. “Hiding out in my room for hours at a time watching Netflix or Hulu to distract my mind or taking frequent trips to the bathroom or into another room at social gatherings because social situations sometimes get to me.” — Kelci F.

12. “Saying I’m tired or don’t feel good… they don’t realize how much depression can affect you physically as well as emotionally.” — Lauren G.

13. “Answering slowly. It makes my brain run slower, and I can’t think of the answers to the questions as quickly. Especially when someone is asking what I want to do – I don’t really want anything. I isolate myself so I don’t have to be forced into a situation where I have to respond because it’s exhausting.” — Erin W.

14. “Sometimes I’ll forget to eat all day. I can feel my stomach growling but don’t have the willpower to get up and make something to eat.” — Kenzi I.

15. “I don’t talk much in large groups of people, especially when I first meet them. I withdraw because of my anxiety and depression. People think I’m ‘stuck up.’ I’m actually scared out of my mind worrying they don’t like me, or that they think I’m ‘crazy’ by just looking at me…” — Hanni W.

16. “Not keeping in touch with anyone, bad personal hygiene and extremely bad reactions to seemingly trivial things.” — Jenny B.

17. “Being angry, mean or rude to people I love without realizing it in the moment. I realize my actions and words later and feel awful I had taken out my anger on people who don’t deserve it.” — Christie C.

18. “Purposely working on the holidays so I can avoid spending time with family. It’s overwhelming to be around them and to talk about the future and life so I avoid it.” — Aislinn G.

19. “My house is a huge mess.” — Cynthia H.

20. “I volunteer for everything, from going to PTO meetings to baby sitting to cleaning someone else’s house for them. I surround myself with situations and obligations that force me to get out of bed and get out of the house because if I’m not needed, I won’t be wanted.” — Carleigh W.

21. “Overthinking everything and over-planning. The need to make everything perfect and everyone happy, even if it’s taking all my energy. As if validation from someone else will make it all better. Sometimes I start out on high power, then just crash and don’t even enjoy what I’ve spent weeks/months planning. And no one will see me for months after, as I retreat into my safe bubble.” — Vicki G.

22. “I smile all the time even though I don’t really want to, but I do it because I don’t feel like I’m allowed to be sad when I’m with other people. I also do whatever it takes to make someone else happy because since I don’t feel happy most of the time, it just makes me feel a little better seeing someone else happy. I also isolate myself even though sometimes I really just want someone around.” — Wendy E.

23. “People don’t realize I say sorry before I even think about expressing any opinions because that’s how worthless I feel. I’m apologizing for feeling anything about anything because that’s how little I feel I matter. They don’t just know I feel like apologizing for even breathing in their general direction. I even say I’m sorry before asking to use the bathroom no matter how long I’ve held it. I feel like a burden for biological needs I have no control over.” — Amy Y.

24. “Neglecting to do basic things like laundry, not wanting to cook a meal or eat. They think I’m being lazy.” — Rebecca R.

25. “Sometimes I’ll go days without speaking to anybody. People tend to believe I’m ignoring them on purpose when really I am just lost within myself. I don’t mean to seem like I’m pushing people away. Some days it’s hard when my thoughts consume me and when I can’t find the motivation to do simple things that others do on a daily basis.” — Alyssa A.

26. “People don’t realize I can’t say no without feeling guilty. I have to have a good enough reason for everything I do. I guess it’s customary to try and convince someone to change their answer, but people have no idea how much it takes for me to say no in the first place. I feel worthless so much that I feel guilty for even thinking of putting my needs or wants first. Then I just feel like a doormat when I cave into the pressure. It’s a never-ending cycle.” — Amy Y.

27. “I push away/cut off everyone who I care about because I can’t bear to be hurt by them! Everyone just thinks I’m mean and anti-social.” — Tina R.

28. “Going for late night walks by myself. My depression keeps me awake at night and my thoughts can get so overwhelming I feel physically crowded inside. Late night walks help me quiet the screaming in my head.” — Lynnie L.

29. “I have often been accused of having ‘no sense of humor.’ So wrong. Before depression took over my life I smiled and laughed as much as the next person. Now, having lived with depression for over 15 years, the humor I find in a joke or situation is rarely visible on my face or heard in my laugh. I feel humor, but it’s just too much effort to express it. I don’t have the energy.” — Martha W.

30. “Keeping the house dark is a comfort thing for me. People always point it out, like, ‘No wonder you’re so depressed. You need to let some light in.’ Darkness in my living space makes me feel comfortable, almost like I’m not alone. Good days, I’m all about the sunshine!” — Michelle T.

30 Things People Don't Realize You're Doing Because of Your Depression


close up of an eye

When You Wake Up Disappointed to Be Alive

I wake up feeling foggy, like I need to gasp for air, startling myself as I gasp. I look around to see the pale bleakness of what seems to be a white room with a young woman standing at my side. She watches me closely, assuring me I’m just waking up from the anesthetic and I’ll be OK in a few minutes.

She walks off leaving me to groggily sway my head back and forth, slowly trying to figure out where I am. I have been under anesthesia twice before and I have never woken up feeling like this. The anxiety and the confusion. I wasn’t supposed to still be here. Where am I again? Hospital ward? … Recovery… Nurses station to my right… Nurses. Thats right, I had day surgery today. I fall back to sleep. I wake again moments later with a new nurse asking me to sit up and have some water. She’s checking my blood pressure while asking me my name and date of birth. I give her all my details and she asks me if I am in any pain. It is then that reality sets in. I didn’t die. I had decided that if something rare happened and I was to die, I would be OK with that. I would be relieved. I had decided the night before, even the days before. I had hoped that something did go wrong and that I wouldn’t even have to know I was dead.

I knew I wouldn’t know if something had gone wrong and no one would hate me because it wasn’t my fault I died. Nothingness, for eternity, had never sounded so good. And now that I wasn’t dead, my heart raced, my chest heaving with panic, my anxiety crept in. I’m crying, and hide my tears from the friendly professional nurse who must assume I am off in my own little world. I wait for it to pass, the feeling of dread. It doesn’t pass.

I consider that I will have to continue with life as I knew it before, that the pain would still race through my body. The memories I still held would still visit me with fierce power, the kind you can’t control on your own. It only makes my tears fall faster, meaning I have to turn my head away from the nurse to hide them. The shattered shell of a person I feel I am, remains. I am heartbroken. My own voice repeats in my head, “But I wanted to be dead. But I wanted to be dead. But I wanted to be dead.” Waiting for my tears to stop, I look over to where the other patients are still sleeping from their own surgeries. A man and two women. I sip the water from the small plastic cup and watch them one by one wake up like newborn babies; groggy, stretching and a little bit confused.

But what I wasn’t seeing on their faces was the dread I felt on the inside or the dread I was struggling to hide on the outside. I was disappointed, but not surprised by it. I guess I hoped everyone felt this way after they wake up from surgery. Regardless of any prior death plans made with themselves the night before.

A young woman, younger than me with a short brown bob, sees me watching her and glances over at me. She smiles and I meekly smile back at her. My nurse leaves me to tend to her. When the nurse returns, smiling and chirpy, I wipe my tears on my hand as she pops me into a wheelchair.

Oblivious to the turmoil going on my head she chatters away, “It’s time to take you to the recovery room with the recliners, they’ll call someone so you can be picked up in a few hours. It’s weird that they use recliners” she says.

I manage a nod. Sitting in my brown leather recliner a friendly Russian male nurse comes and checks me over. He’s somehow overly burley with his thick accent and yet so sweet at the same time. He brings me sandwiches and a cup of tea.“So,” he says,“Who are we calling to pick you up today?”

“Shaun, my husband” I reply politely. And suddenly he’s all I want, all that I needed right then.

My dread for my remaining life is stifled by my need to just be with Shaun. The realization that he would have been destroyed if my wishes had come true humbled me in the strangest way. The one person I know who will understand the pain I felt when I first woke up from my surgery that day. The one person I know who gets me completely, who doesn’t care if I cry because I want bad thing, good things, weird things.

A few days later I had a bad day, and later that night I confessed through heavy tears to Shaun how I felt that day, the devastation I felt when my surgery didn’t go haywire, about my disappointment at not dying. He watched me from our pillows on our bed where we were talking and he cried.

“I’m not crying because of you” he says “I’m crying with you.” I didn’t tell him my awful thoughts that day and days before were forgotten because of him. That even though I wanted to die that day and many days before it, that he made me forget it all even when I was at my weakest.

Because he is consistently my strength. I am not suicidal in the way people think depression makes people feel, there isn’t just any one way when dealing with depression and the thoughts that come with it. Sometimes I just want a release from the pain I feel on a regular basis. I wanted someone else to take the life from me, so I don’t have to.

And that is still something that needs to be addressed. If you or anyone you know has depression, or is suicidal/hurts themselves, be there for them. As hard as it is, be there. Without you, without the support, it’s easy to succumb to mental illness and to take away the pain.

This post originally appeared on AD Remembered.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

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When Depression Makes What You Feel at Complete Odds With What You Know

I feel nothing today, and yet I feel everything.

I know I am a decent person, but today I feel like I’m the most despicable human being ever to have lived.

I know my wife and kids love me, but right now I feel like I’m an onerous burden to them. I feel like an imposition into their otherwise happy and “normal” lives, and that they would be better off without me.

I know I have a successful career that is personally-fulfilling… but I feel like I actually contribute nothing and that everything I’ve ever accomplished is only due to luck.

I know I have friends and relatives who want to help… but it feels like they are fake and distant — that they only say what I want to hear to ease their own guilt and make themselves feel better.

Deep down I know there is hope and that even the darkest night ends with a sunrise… but tonight I feel like I am trapped in a dark oblivion — a cold, shrinking box I can never escape from and from which I will never see light again.

And you know what sucks?

My feelings are winning.

In fact, they win every. Single. Time.

It’s a cruel juxtaposition when what you feel is at complete odds with what you know. When your heart absolutely disagrees with your head. For me, this is one of the most frustrating aspects of depression. It’s like a demon that eases into my body and takes complete control of my feelings. It gradually wraps its icy fingers around my heart and dulls and desensitizes and blackens every thought.

It’s like undergoing an open surgery but the anesthesia isn’t working. You can’t move, you can’t talk, you can hardly even breathe… but you can feel everything.

It’s like watching someone toast to your success while the guy next to you screams insults in your ear, and you absolutely believe him.

But wait… isn’t this the very definition of irrational thinking? When thoughts or actions are in direct conflict with reality or fact? When the monochromatic hues of logic and reason are overpowered by the too-bright colors of illogical emotion? When the voices in your head are yelling so loudly that you can’t hear yourself whispering “this isn’t true,” “this isn’t real,” “please stop”?

Yet, in these moments, to me, there is nothing at all irrational or illogical about these emotions. They are reality to me. And anyone who tells me otherwise is a fool. Don’t remind me of what I know. Don’t tell me I’m overreacting. Don’t try to refocus me on facts. And please… please… don’t discount what I’m feeling as silly or trivial. At some point I’ll probably look back at this moment and say “What was I thinking?”… but today is definitely not that day.

Today, I need you to try and understand. I need you to remind me that whatever I’m thinking or feeling is OK, no matter how at odds with reality it might be. I need you to accept me for who, and what, I am and not make it your personal mission to “fix” me.

Depression has a way of debilitating and deceiving. It twists and distorts and destroys. If you struggle with this paradox between reason and emotion as I do, just know that you’re not alone. Some days are better than others. Some days the tricks and tips learned from therapy do seem to work. But other days just plain suck, and there’s nothing I can do but grit my teeth and try to hold on.

I know there is a reason to hope for all of us… even if on some days we can’t feel it.

And I hope you know it too.

Don’t give up. Don’t give in. Keep fighting…

I know that there is a chance that these thoughts may resonate with, and maybe even help, someone. But I feel like I’ve wasted your time for reading this trite bit of nonsense. I feel like what I’ve struggled to outline here is painfully obvious to everyone but me — and that makes me a fool.

I know, I know, it’s probably not true… but I feel… and that’s the problem.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

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How to Be a 'Good Friend' to Someone With Depression When You're Depressed Too

To have a friend, be a friend.

That’s how the saying goes. When you have a mental illness, a friend who cares, who understands, who simply listens, can help you keep going when you can’t see any other reason to. That’s a Good Friend.

When you are depressed, you may neglect your friends, even your Good Friends, and I have certainly done that. I permanently lost one friend over it. But another, Peggy, kept reaching out to me, and I eventually responded. We then had a good game of “I’m a Bad Friend. I didn’t reach out enough.” “No, I’m a Bad Friend. I knew you were reaching out and I didn’t reach back.”


There are limits. Boundaries. You may call them self-serving or self-saving, but there they are.

There’s the friend you don’t know how to be a Good Friend to. You keep reaching out and you know there’s nothing you can really do except what you’re already doing. Your attempts at making a connection are met with recitals of various woes, reasons why any suggestions won’t help, and stories about Bad Friends and clueless family members. While you don’t expect your friend to perk you up, the unrelenting black cloud does get to you after a while.

You’re tempted to stop reaching out. Perhaps you think no contact would be better than a conversation that makes your friend dwell on her situation, her depression, her misery. Or one that makes you dwell on yours.

Then you remember the Good Friend who kept reaching out to you. So you keep reaching out because you don’t want to be a Bad Friend.

But you may have to set boundaries for yourself for your own good. Can you manage to spend half an hour on the phone before you feel overwhelmed? Can you start the call ready with a terrible joke or a “You won’t believe what my husband did” story to break up the cascade of unhappiness when it threatens to overwhelm you too? Can you remember to use validating statements like, “I bet you were furious when your brother said that” or “I know, Marissa. I couldn’t have handled that either” or “You did what you could. Now it’s out of your hands.”?

Then, after the half hour (or 45 minutes or whatever), you can get off the phone, knowing you have done your best to be a Good Friend. Being a Good Friend doesn’t mean climbing down into the Pit of Despair with someone. And it doesn’t mean being a merry little ray of sunshine, even if you could. It’s a balancing act between understanding, sympathy, and self-preservation. If you let yourself burn out, you won’t have anything left to give, and that’s not going to help your friend.

I still keep reaching out, the way my friend Peggy did. I hope that listening, even half an hour at a time, does some good. And when I talk to other friends of mine, I try to remember to ask how their day was and what’s new in their life and have they seen any good movies and what is a mutual friend doing. I try to listen if they have something to share, good or bad, and I try not to overwhelm them or play whose-life-sucks-the-most. I try to be at least a Not-Bad Friend, even if I do have to lean on my friends, at times pretty heavily. And they do likewise, when they can.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

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