I have had depression, but looking back I have had so many secret signs of hidden depression. Did you know only 30% of people actively get help for severe depression?That the biggest killer in men under 40 in the UK is suicide?* Knowing the other, less well known signs for depression can help to avoid depression snowballing. Here are the signs looking back I now know.
Secret signs of hidden depression number one: Not happy, not unhappy.
For many, people don’t like to complain. You compare your life to others, your life isn’t bad so why do you feel so odd. As a coping mechanism you block out all emotion, happy and sad in a hope it stops the feelings of sadness.
Secret signs of hidden depression number two: Unclear thoughts.
There is a midst over your mind, the logic appears to have vanished. Even coming to a conclusion with one simple thought feels like a battle. It’s common and I experienced indecisiveness and trouble even focusing. It once took me two days of lying in bed deciding if I should catch a two hour train journey. Rational thinking with this midst clouding your thoughts, goes out the window.
Secret signs of hidden depression number three: Body aches and pains.
When I had depression I also suffered with constant back pain. Something I only realised afterwards was because of my depression. It is the most unrecognised symptom of depression, said the journal of the American Medical Association. Apparently 75% of patients in their study of depression mentioned physical discomfort. But because of the physical nature of the symptom, the doctors overlooked the possibility of a psychological problem.
Secret signs of hidden depression number four: Feeling anti-social.
You feel detached and isolated. Everyone you know and love is still very much there but it’s somehow different. You feel completely alone with your own thoughts. I remember being at the pub with a group of twenty friend for a birthday and all I felt was loneliness.
Secret signs of hidden depression number five: Reckless decision making.
You often make decisions that are detrimental to your health, your friendships and relationships. Examples include driving, drinking, sex all the way to excessively exercising. They are all decisions you probably wouldn’t make in a healthy state of mind.
Secret signs of hidden depression number six: Activities you previously love, you now dread.
Going to the gym, being part of a club, going out for meals. Things you used to love, you now feel you could easily give them all up and not miss them one bit. Depression changes the wiring in your brain, you are less motivated to engage in the things that used to make you happy. To you now, these things no longer make you happy.
Secret signs of hidden depression number seven: Random things make you irrationally angry.
While people with depression will often appear sad and often cry-anger is another sign of depression. This occurs mainly with men, if a man is frequently irrationally angry it may be parallel to a woman regularly crying, the difference is saidXX man is trying his best to still appear strong. But the cracks of irrational anger are key signs to depression. I remember a family friends dog once jumping up and scratching my bare leg and I just absolutely lost it. Another example is a friend of mine, the nicest, kindest girl you will ever meet was asked to unstack the dishwasher, before her mum could finish the sentence she’d smashed a glass against a wall. Anger is a sign of depression.
Secret signs of hidden depression number eight: Sleeping and eating habits.
These are two elements critical to health and ones that the brain has complete control over. Often depression either leads to a complete lack of control or a complete over control of these two.
Being sad makes you feel fatigued because being sad is tiring work! But at times being sad also makes you unable to sleep. If you wake in the morning feeling unrested but you have slept for hours, this may well be a sign.
The same goes for eating to little or too much, I lost three stone with depression, I know another friend who put on two stone. This logic is also where mental illnesses with food could come into play, like anorexia or bulimia.
Secret signs of hidden depression number nine: You act out to the closest around you.
Depression creates a feeling of constant hurt and its known, even without depression, when you’re feeling hurt often you act out and hurt the ones closest to you. Examples include; reckless decisions, twisted horrible remarks or in an attempt to comprehend how you feel by blaming others, but all concludeXX in hurting the ones nearest to you. I had a friend who only after looking back realised she had depression while throughout it, me and another girl agreed on the description of ourselves; we were her ‘emotional pin cushion’. We could see the depression, the sufferer could only see it in retrospect.
Secret signs of hidden depression number ten: Becoming a con artist at appearing happy.
This is the hardest one to see as a by stander and to admit as a sufferer. Sufferers of depression are the masters of disguise particularly if it is important to them to appear easy going, happy or mentally strong. You don’t want to recognise how much of a problem your depression is so appearing fine to others is the best way you know to cope with it. It is often the people you least expect to suffer from depression that do; the strong willed, the life of the party, the people who have personalities like over excited puppies. I remember standing behind a door and practicing smiling before opening it to go into the kitchen.
Feel like this might be you? See how I cope with both anxiety and depression here.
Want even more help? Mind UK is a great charity to help if you feel any of these symptoms.