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12 Signs of 'Low-Grade' Depression You May Be Missing

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When you live with chronic depression, the absence of a major depressive episode may be a relief like no other. But sometimes, even if you’re not feeling majorly depressed, you still don’t feel quite like yourself. For many people, sliding into “low grade” or mild depression can be so gradual, they don’t even realize they are depressed.

Maybe you’ve been feeling emotionally “numb” for so long, you didn’t notice your lack of joy doing things you normally love. Maybe things have been really busy and you’ve been functioning on autopilot to make it through the day — not realizing your exhaustion was a symptom of depression, not just busyness. Or maybe you just experienced a major depressive episode, and in hindsight can see that you’ve been mildly depressed for quite a while.

If any of these scenarios sound familiar, you’re not alone. And while “mild” or “low-grade” depression can sometimes surprise us, for people who are familiar with this kind of depression, it’s possible to notice the first signs of it sneaking in.

Although everyone’s signs of “low-grade” depression are different, we wanted to how people recognized it was back. So we asked our Mighty community to share one “sign” that let them know, in hindsight, they had actually been experiencing “low-grade” depression. If you relate to any of the answers, let us know in the comments, or post a Thought or Question about it on The Mighty.

Here’s what they shared with us:

1. Getting Overwhelmed Easily

“I start to get stressed and overwhelmed at any little thing and it shows physically and can be heard vocally. My sunshine perspective takes a nose dive and it is hard to think of anything positive.” — Liana A.

2. Feeling Irritated or Angry More Frequently

“Anger. I always overlook how angry depression makes me.” — Jessica R.

“I’m irritable for more than one day in a row. It’s the beginning of the downward spiral.” — Jennifer B.

3. “Zoning Out”

“Spacing out and feeling numb. That feeling that you get used to already is becoming my identity… I just wanna sit there and be invisible staring in that deep blank. I just mostly shut into silence and have no intentions of speaking to anyone or even answering my phone calls.” — Rai D.

“Zoning out. It’s like I would make it through the day feeling ‘fine’ but often just catch myself staring off into nothingness. I just chalked it up to being bored… I was wrong.” — Martha D.

4. Not Caring About What You Wear

“Not paying attention to the clothes I wore. It sounds shallow but whenever a depressive episode was coming, I started unconsciously switching to long-sleeved thick hoodies (and it’s usually 30 to 35 degrees where I stay).” — Mrudula K.

5. Being Unaware of Time

“Going to bed really late and not even realizing it got late — normally I am hyper aware of time” — Adah J.

“Time is no longer relevant. Can’t remember what day of the week it is. Weeks pass without knowledge of time. At times, the entire month is a blur.” — John S.

6. Letting Things Get Messier Than Usual

“My willingness to overlook and live with clutter and filth.” — Sarah H.

“Leaving dishes in the sink or laying around the house.” — Julie G.

7. Noticing Changes in Your Normal Eating Habits

“I eat out a lot or I eat snack items like chips or Top Ramen. I don’t even think about it, all I know is I don’t want to cook.” — Taylor G.

“Loss of appetite.” — Will T.

8. Sighing

“Sighing. A lot.” — Annabel R.

9. Taking More Naps

“I love my sleep. I’ll nap in the middle of the day with no problem. But it turned into unhealthy sleeping, when I would do it instead of school work. I even did it because I was bored. Also complete opposite happened, I’d stay up all night too, going days without sleep.” — Gillian G.

10. Experiencing Brain Fog

“I stutter because of brain fog. Talking gets hard… but when I feel better my friends say it goes away. I don’t notice the difference.” — Emily D.

11. Not Enjoying Things You Normally Enjoy

“Being uninterested in singing or writing, two of my passions, and not wanting to eat.” — Alicia N.

12. Feeling Like Everything Is in “Slow Motion”

“Everything feels like it slows down and goes in slow motion” — Krista M.

Is there a “sign” you experience that we didn’t mention? Join the conversation below.

What are some "signs" you typically miss before you realize you might be struggling with "low grade" or mild #Depression? #MentalHealth#BipolarDisorder#Dysthymia#DepressionNaps

Read the responses, and reply yourself: 

Unsplash photo via Issam Hammoudi

Originally published: October 25, 2018
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