8 'Red Flags' People Missed Before They Realized They Had Depression


When we think of depression, often the first thing that comes to mind is sadness. But depression is so much more than just sadness, and we need to talk about the different ways it manifests.

Maybe you are perpetually exhausted and don’t know why. Maybe your fuse is shorter and you lash out at your loved ones when you don’t want to. Or maybe you are “numb” and rather than feeling sadness, you feel nothing at all.

These can all be symptoms of disguised depression.

Because depression has many “red flags” we tend to miss, we asked our Mighty community to share one sign they missed before they realized they had depression. Maybe you’ll see yourself in some of these answers.

Here’s what they shared with us:

1. Being Tired All the Time

“Two red flags I missed were irritability and being tired all the time. I didn’t realize those were symptoms of depression. Once my psychiatrist diagnosed me, I did a good bit of research on depression and realized I missed a lot of symptoms I never realized manifested with depression. I thought it was just being sad. It’s definitely way more than that.” — Kayla B.

2. Irritability

“Getting irritated at the smallest things and always carrying a negative energy about thinking everything is against me.” — Kazi H.

“Being grouchy. I’m not a grumpy person overall and when my depression acts up, I am irritable and get irrationally angry over small things.” — Megan M.

3. Feeling Emotionally “Numb”

One red flag I normally miss is when I begin to dissociate from everybody else and all of a sudden am numb to the feeling of relating to everyday situations. Slowly it drips into the rest of my life, and I begin to be apathetic towards every part of my life — my hygiene, my room, my car, my academics…” — Caelyn C.

Becoming numb to everything — feeling like I’ve lost all my emotions.” — Han L.

4. Feeling Physically Numb

“I stop feeling. Can’t feel physical pain, can’t feel hunger — food is something to read about but eating it feels wrong. My house gets disgusting — I seem OK on the outside. I work and smile and get stuff done but go home and sleep. I can’t cook, don’t clean… I’m exhausted. Playing “normal/happy/well-adjusted” takes every ounce of energy I have, there is nothing left when I get home.” — Laureena F.

5. Losing Interest in Things You Normally Love

“Lack of interest in the things I loved and cared for. Escaping into your thoughts during social interactions and coming off as rude and snobbish, but all you’re doing is trying to control the thoughts in your head.” — Sneha V.

“Losing interest in things that I absolutely loved. I love reading and crafts but when my depression got really bad I lost interest, I chalked it up to me being tired all the time (another symptom I missed). I would say when I’m not so tired I’ll do these things or when I feel better I’ll do it. When in reality if I had done some of those things I would have actually felt a little better.” — Cally S.

6. Increased Sensitivity to Noise

Overstimulation when it comes to sound. Something like being in a room with the AC running and then someone speaking at the same time was too much.” — Sam M.

“Not being able to cope with loud noise.” — Dani D.

7. Lack of Focus

“My inability to focus on anything. I couldn’t even just sit and watch a TV show. I had to also be playing a game on my iPad, scrolling through social media and articles. Totally not my character.” — Whitney F.

8. Being Mentally “Checked Out”

“The red flag that I’m slowly slipping back into depression is the lack of focus on reality. Physically I’m there, I can be in an important meeting looking like I’m paying attention and giving all social cues. Mentally, I have checked out. There’s no telling what I’m thinking, I can have a blank mind. I can have running thoughts. There’s an array of possibilities. It can hit at any time — when I’m with family, friends, driving. It can be scary at times.” — Leslie B.

What would you add?

Unsplash photo via Brunel Johnson


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