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15 Signs You Grew Up With 'Depression Irritability'

When teenagers act out, we usually just chalk it up to them just being a “moody teenager.” When kids act out, we assume they just have a “cranky” temperament, and maybe even punish them for behaving badly.

What many adults don’t realize though, is that a kid or teenage who just seems cranky or moody could really be struggling with something deeper. Sometimes, when young people are depressed, their depression comes out as irritability.

We wanted to know what “signs” let people know their irritability growing up was actually a result of depression, so we asked our mental health community. If you can see yourself in these answers, you’re not alone.

Parents and teachers: When you see a kid who’s cranky, instead of asking, “What’s wrong with you?” it might be time to ask, “What’s wrong?” When kids are recognized for the pain they’re going through, we can get them support and help sooner.

Here are some signs of “depression irritability” our community shared with us:

  1. “Meltdowns were just panic attacks. My grades would slip and I would become irritable in class, I would walk by myself down the hall not wanting to talk to anyone. These periods of times I was just depressed, at the time I didn’t know why I suddenly felt that way. I had extremely low self-esteem.” — Sophie K.
  2. “I used to get irritable before bedtime. My parents thought I was just being a pain but that’s when my brain would overthink and try to take over. They saw it as just being disruptive when it was just because I wanted to try and talk but couldn’t. Also lack of understanding.” — Jemma V.
  3. “During high school, I felt like no one was willing to meet me halfway. I fell short of my parents’ and peers’ expectations. Nothing was ever good enough. This was my catalyst for low self-esteem, suicidal ideation and depression/anxiety. I believed that no one had my back.” — Julia C.
  4. “I used to cry for not flipping reason. Like literally I would cry and my mum would ask what was wrong, and I’d just sit there sobbing saying I don’t know.” — Tiffany M.
  5. “I didn’t want to be bothered because of depression fatigue. So I would stay up all night by myself and try to sleep after school (if I made it to school).” — Krystal T.
  6. “I had a breakdown every time someone changed plans or canceled. Couldn’t take the rejection and all the irrational thoughts came flooding in. Something I still struggle with now if I’m having a down day.” — Sarah P.
  7. “For as long as I can remember, I get super irritated by people who raise their voice. Whether it’s to make a point or speak loud enough for anyone to hear over another noise/person. Every time I hear someone raise their voice, I immediately get irritated because I start thinking they’re yelling at me and I start to replay everything I did or said to justify being yelled at. If I can’t figure it out, I then become the irritant by always asking, ‘Why are you yelling at me?’” — Kimy B.
  8. “I used to get sensory overload. Any touch sound or something small would set me off and I used to lie in a dark space like a closet or bathroom to calm down and find myself numb afterwards.” — Looney H.
  9. “I would lash out easily, [was] short-tempered and [had] little patience.” — Jessica B.
  10. “I became extremely irritable in high school when I couldn’t identify what emotion I was going through. My parents thought I was just a disrespectful teenager. They convinced me I had an attitude problem and that I better start behaving or else… They didn’t believe in the therapy or antidepressants and put a huge stigma on mental health. It wasn’t until I was hospitalized for a suicide attempt at 17 that I started getting the help I needed.” — Sarah C.
  11. “I used to drink to calm it down as a teenager, and work any way to get out the house.” — Charmaine P.
  12. “I would get very irritated at the smallest things. I would shut down when the smallest things went wrong. I would be super irritable and in a really bad mood.” — Sidney G.
  13. “I used to get irritated extremely easily. No provocation by anyone, no particular reason most of the time. I was just on fight mode all the time. Still struggling.” — Monica M.
  14. “I would get really furious over something small but then five minutes later I was OK with the person again. I just had blasts of anger that seemed to come from nowhere.” — Outsarters A.
  15. “As a teen, I coped by spending hours on the internet. When my family criticized this, calling me ‘uncaring’ or other things, I would get irritated because they didn’t understand what I was going through. This led to constantly being mad at myself for being a ‘useless,’ ‘unmotivated’ and ‘uncaring’ person; it made me even more on edge and suspicious that they would keep reminding me of my faults.” — Jacinta M.
What would you add?

Photo by Anika Huizinga on Unsplash