When we think of depression, we typically think of the classic signs: sadness, “feeling blue,” hopelessness, or despair. But anyone who has ever suffered from depression knows that it’s so much more complex than just feeling “down.”
It’s so complex in fact, that you may be suffering from depression and not even know it.
Depression doesn’t always present itself in the form of debilitating sadness. But without enough knowledge about some of its other symptoms, it can be easy to write-off depression as the reason for what you’re experiencing, simply because you aren’t “sad.”
Here are 5 signs you may be suffering from depression:
Unexplained Weight Gain
Comfort foods can raise serotonin levels in the brain, seemingly boosting your mood, when in fact you may be stuck in a cycle of emotional eating. Maybe you haven’t felt like shopping or haven’t been in the mood to make a real meal for dinner. So, you settle for a brown paper sack from the most convenient drive-thru on your way home from work or decide to just eat ice cream instead.
Doing that on an increasingly regular basis will surely lead to weight-gain, and doesn’t do anything but provide a short-term mood-boost to your brain. The underlying need for comfort food still remains, and in return, you’re stuck buying pants with a bigger waist-line.
Short Spurts of Anger and Irritability
Perhaps even the littlest things send you into an overwhelming rage, or you’re “short” with the people you interact with on a daily basis. You may not be “feeling blue,” but rather grouchy and unpleasant for no real reason at all. According to prevention.com, a 2013 study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, found that “54% of people with depression reported feeling hostile, grumpy, argumentative, foul-tempered, or angry.”
It may just be a bad week with a lot of stress and a lot of feelings. But if you’re experiencing short spurts of anger and frustration on a regular basis, it very well could mean that you are suffering from depression.
Being Glued to Your Phone
If your virtual presence has increased, or you find yourself spending more time on Facebook than you do having face-to-face social interactions, you might be suffering from depression. Studies show that people with depression often use the internet as a coping mechanism when they feel discontent or disconnected from the real-world. It’s a way to escape from your thoughts and feelings—even ones you don’t realize you’re having.
But perpetual web time isn’t healthy for anyone, and training your brain to resort to your phone when there are underlying feelings and mental processes that need to be addressed, will only cause that depression to fester.
Maybe you aren’t so much “feeling blue,” as you are instead just feeling nothing at all.
People who are depressed often “feel numb,” or neutral—as if all emotion or motivation has escaped them. Maybe things that used to tug at your heartstrings just don’t have the same effect anymore. You may have distanced yourself from people, become cold in your approach or even pushed away those who are closest to you. All are classic signs that you may be suffering from depression.
Noticing More Pain
That lower back that’s been giving you trouble or a stiff neck that just won’t go away may be a result of more than just a bad night’s sleep. Research shows that 75% of people who suffer from depression also have recurring or chronic pain.
When you’re suffering from depression, you may experience a greater sensitivity to pain. This can be anything from mild headaches and stomachaches to intense pain through the back and spine. That’s because your brain processes mental illness and pain in the same way.
Like anything, symptoms of depression reveal themselves differently in every person. If you feel like you may be suffering from depression, it’s important to consult your doctor or medical professional. Be sure to also check out our depression quiz, designed to determine your symptoms, and guide you on your next steps.