by Andrea Blundell
Do you think a person with depression symptoms is sad, crying, and wanting to die? Think again.
Yes, these can be symptoms of major depressive disorder.
But depression is a complex issue and there are many types of depression. If you’ve been not yourself lately, and it is getting better but not worse? See if the below sounds a bit too familiar.
10 Depression Symptoms That Might Surprise You
1. Coffee has stopped working.
Lately you are just…. tired. You don’t know how else to put it. You’ve been trying all sorts to get over it. More coffee, less coffee. Going to bed earlier, not using screens before bed, supplements….
You are still exhausted.
There are moments you feel like you are pushing through sand, as if your whole body, every cell, is fatigued. But blood tests didn’t find anything….
2. Your sleep patterns are doing weird things.
Your usual eight hours is more like six as you are waking up very early, or can’t fall asleep fast. Or perhaps you wake up several times during the night and toss and turn.
Sleep problems and depression come hand-in-hand so often it can sometimes be a chicken or egg situation – hard to tell what came first.
3. You feel floaty, numb, even out of your body.
photo by: Arthur Savary
Mild depression can leave you feeling as if you are flatlining. You are neither happy or sad, you just…. are.
If you have any sort of trauma in your past you might start to experience dissociation as your depression progresses. This feels like you are watching yourself from a distance.
4. You are catching every cold and flu going.
A scientist at Carnegie Mellon University in the USA has shown that psychological stress makes us more susceptible to colds and also lowers the body’s ability to manage its inflammatory response.
If you come from a family, workplace, or culture where depression is seen as unacceptable? You might manifest your depression symptoms in a physical way.
This looks like always have a cold or flu, or having many unexplained medical symptoms you go to the doctor for but there is no obvious explanation. Some people even begin to have repetitive injuries.
5. You’ve been randomly snapping at people.
Your nice girl/guy image is getting tarnished of late because of a few…’episodes’. Perhaps you snapped at a colleague, got caught rolling your eyes at a manager, alienated a friend… And your poor partner, you’ve really had a go at her lately.
You say you’re just tired, but the truth is, you don’t really know why you feel so moody. What you haven’t told anyone about is the growing feeling inside. You just feel…. angry. A hidden rage, and it’s growing.
6. You social life is doing a 180.
Depending on your base line — what you are like socially when you are feeling balanced — this can look like suddenly going out every night, or suddenly turning down social offers to stay at home doing nothing.
Yes, we all need to take a social break now and then, and yes, some of us need to get out more. So social changes can be normal. But check in with yourself.
If you are going out way more, is there a sense of restlessness as well, as if you are afraid to slow down and face something? If you are staying home, are you feeling increasingly numb over the last few weeks?
7. You’re on a work bender. By choice.
It started as a bit of overtime. But now you are saying no to social events in favour of workaholism, and are saying yes instead to every extra contract that comes your way.
You oddly feel a sense of safety each time you tell someone no, I can’t, I’m busy working. And you try not to notice that the moment you have to stop working you feel uncomfortable in your own skin.
8. There’s some serious overeating happening.
Snacking is out of control. And you are not able to do portion sizes anymore. It’s not a few slices, it’s the whole pizza. You go out to eat and come home and eat again. Or buy groceries for the week, get home and eat it all in a day.
The truth is there is a numb feeling that begins when you eat a lot that somehow makes you feel better.
9. There is a lot more Netflix going on.
It started as a half hour when you got home, maybe. Now suddenly you are finding yourself ‘coming too’ late at night, wondering why you’ve gone and binge watched shows yet again. You’ve started watching thing you don’t even like. But you can’t seem to stop. You might even have sneakily been watching at work.
10. There is a lot more of something else going on.
Not Netflix, but more a lot of… “Netflix and chill”? Casual sex can be a sign of depression as well if you are using to to escape your emotions.
The moment you begin aggressively overdoing one thing, and deep down you know you are trying to avoid feeling something? It’s the depression spiral.
So habits of distraction that are a sign we are falling into a depression can also look like:
- overspending our money
- hours of online shopping
- drinking too much
- using too many party drugs
- video games for hours on end
- reading romance or fantasy novels excessively.
11. A bit (or lot) of ‘why bother’ is creeping in.
Usually you are known for good grooming. But lately? You went out the house in the same clothes two days in a row, or didn’t do your hair, or shave. And you handed in a work assignment without checking it over like you usually do. It’s as if your ability to care about things is lowering by the day.
You’ve been taking risks you usually don’t.
That Netflix at work, maybe a bit of lying to friends, or even things like eating expired food that might make you sick or walking through bad areas alone at night.
It’s as if something in your is courting troubles or even danger, and you don’t know why. You never thought of yourself as self destructive, but you can’t seem to stop this secret new habit. Maybe because it gives you a sense of waking up and being alive when you’ve felt so numb lately.
Is this all sounding a little too familiar?
Starting to realise that all your unusual behaviours lately might just be depression symptoms? Have they been going on for more than six weeks and seem to be worsening? Then time to take yourself seriously.
Talk to someone you trust and see if it helps and you can get to the bottom of what is upsetting you and make a few changes. Perhaps it’s just some heavy stress in the end, and there are ways forward. [You can take our free ‘Stressed, depressed, or both?‘ quiz if you are curious].
Unfortunately, however, depression tends to lack an exact cause. It can be all sorts of things rolled together, including experiences from long ago. And we can need proper support to navigate our way forward, particularly if we feel ashamed, or uncomfortable talking with friends.
There are self help tools that are a good start, such as mindfulness, self-care, bibliotherapy, and journalling.
But if you can, seek some counselling. See if your workplace insurance covers sessions, or if your school has low-cost or free support. If these options aren’t available and you are on a low budget, you might also find our article on how to find a low cost counselling useful.
Want to talk to someone, but feel too low to leave the house? Use our booking site to find an online therapist and get talking. We also connect you to UK-wide registered therapists and expert depression counsellors in central London.
Do you still have a question about depression symptoms? Ask below. Note that this is not a free counselling service, and we monitor all comments to protect our readers.