You probably think you know what depression looks like. We’ve all seen it acted out countless times on television and in movies. You sleep all the time, you cry all the time, and you eat ice cream all the time.
To be fair these can all indeed be symptoms of clinical depression. However, they’re far from the only symptoms. And in fact, if you or a loved one is depressed the symptoms may be far different.
Following are eight unexpected signs of depression to keep your eye out for.
1. Trouble making decisions:
Depression messes with your cognitive function, and one way that can show up in your day to day life is that it can become hard to make decisions. No matter how decisive you usually are when you’re depressed even the smallest choices, such as what to make for dinner or what outfit to wear, can start to feel downright overwhelming.
2. Feeling nothing:
When people hear the word depression they tend to automatically think of sadness. But the truth is being depressed for many folks often means feeling nothing at all. You don’t feel excitement, of course, but you also don’t feel blue either. People with this symptom often describe themselves as feeling numb or like they’re an outsider observing their own life.
3. Personal hygiene slips:
If taking care of your personal hygiene such as brushing your teeth and hair, showering, or putting on clean clothes starts to feel like a chore it could be a sign of depression. Because in order to feel motivated to care for yourself you have to care about something, and a serious case of the blues can steal that from you.
4. Never feeling good enough:
Striving to do your best is admirable, but believing that you’re useless if you’re not 100 percent perfect all the time could be depression. People who are dpressed tend to hold themselves to a higher, and frankly often impossible to meet, standard.
When you’re seriously down in the dumps an everyday human error can suddenly feel like proof that you’re worthless. And a minor mistake, such as forgetting to pick up something at the store, can send you into a spiral of self-doubt.
5. Overwhelming guilt:
When you’re depressed overwhelming and misplaced guilt can overpower your sense of reason. Known among researchers as “pathological guilt,” a person with depression often feels deep-seated guilt over minor or even irrational things such as being depressed in the first place, or being a “burden” on loved ones.
6. Daily drinking:
One third of people who have depression also have a drinking problem. It’s easy to understand why, because at first alcohol can appear to help. But don’t be fooled. Even moderate drinking—more than one alcoholic drink a night for women and more than two for men—typically will make your depression symptoms worse, not better.
7. Becoming obsessed:
Whether it’s social media, shopping or binge-watching your favorite TV shows, when something you once enjoyed is suddenly an all-consuming activity it could be a sign you’re depressed.
Study after study has linked compulsive behavior to depression. Occasional distractions can be helpful in your battle against depression, but using anything obsessively as a way to avoid dealing with depression is harmful in the long run.
8. Feeling angry all the time:
We all get angry from time to time, whether we’re depressed or not. But depression can also trigger frequent anger. If even small stuff seems to set you off and you find yourself feeling irritable, angry or annoyed more often than usual depression could be the cause.
In fact, research indicates that the angrier a person gets, the more depressed they could be. And 54 percent of people dealing with depression report feelings of unusual anger and rage.
If you recognize any of these unexpected signs in yourself or a loved one talk to a doctor. Depression is a common human condition, and with more than 16 million Americans experiencing it every year it’s certainly nothing to be ashamed of.
The good news is there are now more treatments available than ever before. Which means you can work with a doctor to come up with a treatment plan that’s right for YOU.