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22 Things People Do That Actually Mean 'I'm Depressed'

Although people think they know what depression looks like (sadness, isolation, someone curled up in the fetal position lying in the corner of a dark room…), that’s not how depression “comes out” for everyone. Just because someone isn’t crying all the time doesn’t mean they’re not depressed, and it can be hard to explain that sudden anger or even overworking is actually a sign you’re not doing well.¬†

To get a better idea of the different ways depression manifests,¬†we asked people in our¬†mental health¬†community to share¬†something they do when they’re depressed¬†that others might not realize is because of depression.

Here’s what they shared with us:

  1. “Ignore people. I don’t mean to be rude, but I’m just too tired, low and numb to try and answer properly at all.” —¬†Lucy W.
  2. “Procrastinate everything, even the smallest of tasks like picking up clothes or doing the dishes. People think I’m just being lazy, when in reality I’m too physically and mentally exhausted to get out of bed, let alone be productive.” —¬†Madi M.
  3. “I get mad at people easier and lose my temper quickly. When I get depressed, I get sensitive so if someone yells at me or does something bad, I easily get frustrated and yell.” —¬†Julia H.
  4. “I try to overcompensate by appearing friendly and funny with family and close friends. I don’t like feeling like a burden, so when I feel depression coming on, I try to convince everyone I’m fine so they don’t know what I’m really feeling. It’s exhausting.” —¬†Nikki G.
  5. “I post to social media a lot. I’m trying to overcompensate for how I feel and come across like I’m having a ton of fun when I feel like I’m dying on the inside.” —¬†Tanna S.
  6. “I won’t answer the phone or a text. Not from my husband, my mom or my best friend. I hate the phone when I’m depressed because it’s just one more thing that wants something from me.” —¬†Ashley J.
  7. “I get all defensive. For some reason, I get more detached and cold whenever I’m in a serious depression flare. I get defensive over everything.” —¬†Sloane S.
  8. “I stop talking. Like I completely shut down. I become reclusive and want to be left alone. It’s hard especially, when I’m in the middle of doing something fun and all of the sudden, it’s not fun anymore.” —¬†Dallis P.
  9. “Watch hours of YouTube.” —¬†Justin W.
  10. “Binge watch shows I would normally have no interest in.” —¬†Kyle D.
  11. “I lose weight. People keep telling me how great I look.” —¬†Minnie H.
  12. “I get really bad brain fog and people sometimes think I am ignoring them, I just don’t realize they are talking or I struggle to follow and understand what is being said.” —¬†Rebecca K.
  13. “Tie my hair back to not let people notice I hadn’t showered, because yeah, I probably haven’t showered for a couple of days when I’m bad. I usually start my group therapy sessions or even the individual session with how long it has been or how bad my kitchen sink is.” —¬†Juliana C.
  14. “Not cleaning my room. Some may say I’m lazy, but genuinely something as small as taking a plate down to the kitchen and washing it is a mammoth task when I’m really depressed….¬†I know it’s a bad habit and not healthy, but that’s how unmotivated I become when I’m depressed, I can’t even motivate myself to wash a dish.” —¬†Shannon D.
  15. “I throw myself into work or school and get so focused on that so I can’t think about anything else. But it always ends in the same place… tears and a huge breakdown.” —¬†Margaret S.
  16. “Become flaky. I cancel plans with friends, miss appointments and meetings, neglect important deadlines and neglect my goals. This is because when I reach a certain level of depression I’m unable to function, and all I can do is lie in bed and self-care in an attempt to keep myself safe.” —¬†Steph C.
  17. ¬†“Sensory overload. I squint at lights, wince at music.¬†I stop eating.¬†And my sleep schedule goes awry. I never want to get out of bed but I can’t fall asleep and get a decent four to six hours of rest.” —¬†Hafsa A.
  18. “When I get caught up in my ‘bad days,’ I can end up in bed for days at a time, not eating, barely drinking and only leaving my bed to use the bathroom or to get more water. I just lie there, for hours and hours, letting myself dissociate until I fall¬†asleep, because I can’t handle the stress of the outside world and the people in it. Most of the time, people just assume I’m sick, because my physical symptoms (nausea, cramps, headaches, sweating, etc.) start flaring up by the time I hit that point.” —¬†Christopher B.
  19. “When I’m in a depressive episode, I spend more money. I tend to spend a lot more collectively on books and trinkets than I normally would because I try and compensate for the lack of feeling. It’s like I’m trying to revive my emotions with things that usually make me happy, but it rarely works and it’s a vicious cycle.” —¬†Irene B.
  20. “The rage comes out in a very unhealthy way and I tend to direct it towards the wrong people. The amount of remorse I end up feeling after compounds with feeling humiliation for acting that way.” —¬†Nicole L.
  21. “I joke a lot at work when I’m feeling my lowest. People see me as ‘high energy’ and ‘super peppy,’ but no one realizes just how exhausted and low I am at that time. I still need a job, so I put on facades because people prefer to be around and hire happy people versus down and depressed people.” —¬†Jolene C.
  22. “I clean as much as possible. If I can’t control my emotions, I can control my environment.” —¬†Caileen A.

What would you add?