This piece was written by Lisa Woods a Thought Catalog contributor.
Many people with depression often don’t “look” depressed or even seem that way. We compiled some “red flags” that may indicate you are struggling with depression as expressed by users on Reddit who have been depressed themselves or are still struggling with their mental health.
Here’s what they had to say:
1. Your routine is empty.
“I’ve no motivation to even begin anything enjoyable so I just browse the web until my stomach growls. Then dinner, shower, bed, do it again. And again. And again.”
2. You may act uncharacteristically.
“Thing is, depression and unhappiness have some weird effects. For example, insomnia is one of the symptoms of depression [for me]. But excessive sleep is also one of the symptoms of depression. Weird, right?
It could be anything. Differs from person to person. Some will pretend to be happy and smile with you, but go quiet and reserved when they think you’re not looking. Some will not try to hide it as much and will look reserved, rarely smile even with people around.
Some might work less. Laziness and lack of interest often come with depression. But others will drown themselves in work, trying to escape the unwanted reality.
Some will stop enjoying things they like. Like, lose interest in video games, for example. Others will, again, escape from depression by putting themselves in easy and fun situations, reading books, watching movies or playing video games.
Point is, you can never know. I know these things from experience. Sometimes I lose interest in stuff I enjoy. I often oversleep or don’t sleep enough. I often pretend to be OK for those around me, smiling and laughing with them, but I rarely do that with honesty. I also know from the research I did when asking the same questions on “What is depression?” and “What are its symptoms?” And what I learned is that we don’t know what depression is any more than we know the secrets of the cosmos. Our minds are just as complicated as quantum physics. We don’t know what depression is, and we only know some of its symptoms, which are different depending on the person.”
3. You don’t “seem” to care a lot, but you actually do.
“[Depression is] a numbness that looks like not caring. It’s not even necessarily not caring. You can completely care that you have 500 household chores that need done. The problem sometimes is just not having the energy to do anything. Dealing with people at work all day is exhausting, not to mention physically busting your ass. Trying to be a good parent and spouse is exhausting. Just getting through the requirements of your day takes all of your mental and physical fortitude and then you have to do it again tomorrow. And it’s like that every day. So sure, I care that the dishes need to be washed or that I need a haircut, I just don’t care enough because I’m already overworked and stretched too thin and it’s just not fucking important in comparison compared to trying to recharge/relax for a little bit so I can get through the next day.”
4. You may fall behind on chores.
“My anxiety makes me stress out about the fact that my house needs tidying and cleaning but the thought of actually doing that is so overwhelming I just can’t face doing it, so it becomes a vicious circle.”
5. You’re isolated.
“Isolation is the biggest [red flag] in my opinion, when all of a sudden your friend just stops making contact, it might not be because they don’t like you, it’s because they don’t want to annoy you with their unhappiness.
I’d be depressed a lot and sometimes don’t want to annoy my friends because I find it hard enough to be by myself, I can only imagine how it is to be around me!”
6. You “go with the flow.”
“[A red flag for me is when] people just kinda “go with the flow.” Not in a happy go lucky sorta way, but like they never give their opinions and just agree with what others say. They let others speak before them, then let the person after them go, then the next, etc., etc.”
7. You may be anxious around groups.
“My not-so-subtle sign that I’m not-so-secretly unhappy [is] when hanging out with a group of friends, things will be OK for a couple of hours, then I’ll start getting depressed and looking around at all the little groups I’m not a part of and feeling like a complete waste of space and I’ll sneak out the back door and leave without saying anything to anyone.”
8. Your eating patterns change a lot.
“[I] either have minimal appetite and food turns [me] off, or the opposite: [I] overeat to assuage [my] unhappiness.”
9. Your work or school is affected.
“I’m able to manage my depression and such rather well and keep it from affecting me at work. But recently it starting creeping up more and more at work. My boss pulled me aside and asked me if anything was wrong, and [said] I should just take it easy for a little while. Nobody has ever asked me if I’m ever OK and I nearly broke down over it. Just the fact that he asked help me pull through and I feel much better over the whole thing.”
10. You are hard on yourself.
“[I make] self-deprecating comments as jokes.”
11. You may become forgetful.
“Memory issues. Oftentimes untreated or undert-reated depression and/or anxiety causes serious memory issues.”
12. You smile through the pain.
“It is appearing happy to others and smiling through the pain, keeping the inner chaos hidden. [I] avoid disclosing [my] depression and inner suffering from all.”
13. You may say you are “tired” a lot.
“That is usually code for unhappy even on a subconscious level.”
14. You accept less than you deserve.
“[I am] content with giving more than [I] receive and [am] literally OK with everything — both good and bad.”
15. You may not reach out to friends anymore.
“I’m ‘secretly’ unhappy because I have nobody to be a part of my life… Some of us don’t have the mental ability to reach out even when we need it most.”
16. You may not want to talk about yourself often.
“[I am] constantly deflecting any questions about [myself] and [am] always diverting the conversation back to you.”
If you just spent 10 minutes scouring this list to see if anyone else feels what you feel, we want you to know they do and you aren’t alone.
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Thinkstock photo via berdsigns.