8 Less Obvious Symptoms that Could Mean You Have Hidden Depression, by a Licensed Therapist in Colorado
When you think of the word depression, what comes to mind? For many, it’s feeling sad or down much of the time, crying frequently, not wanting to spend time with family or friends, and even thoughts of self-harm or suicide. While these are all true and legitimate symptoms of depression, it can manifest in many other ways, and a lot of them aren’t obvious at all. If you find yourself familiar with a few of these symptoms, you could be suffering from hidden depression.
1. Irritability and Anger
While it’s normal for anyone to become irritable or upset from time to time, if you find yourself irritable at things much more than usual, or irritated by things that don’t usually bother you, it could be a sign of depression.
2. Significant Weight Changes
Many people with depression experience significant changes to their weight. Some gain quite a bit of weight in a short amount of time, and others lose quite a bit in a short amount of time. Either way, if you see a significant change that you weren’t trying to reach, it could be a symptom of depression.
Weight changes often occur as a secondary symptom. Some people cope with depression by engaging in emotional eating. Others forget to eat, or perhaps find that the effort of preparing food is too exhausting, and eat less because of that.
3. Brain Fog
Brain fog is often described as the feeling of being, well, foggy. Not being able to concentrate, struggling to remember details, easily losing your train of thought, or just not feeling as mentally sharp as you usually do. Brain fog is related to several symptoms of depression, and so noticing it in itself could be a reason to look more into other symptoms.
4. Increased Alcohol or Drug Use
If you notice that you turn to alcohol, drugs, or tobacco more than usual in order to cope, especially if that consistently happens over the course of weeks or months, it could be a sign of depression. Alcohol in particular can also increase feelings of depression, making the cycle worse.
5. Extreme Fatigue
People can experience fatigue for many reasons, and so this one can be a little more difficult to pinpoint. But the vast majority of those with depression experience chronic fatigue as one of their symptoms. It often looks like the struggle to get out of bed in the morning, not being able to accomplish your usual routines, struggling to exercise, and general exhaustion. In addition, many people with depression have trouble sleeping, making the fatigue even worse.
6. Excessive Guilt
This is another sneaky symptom of depression. You may feel guilty over really small things, honest mistakes, things you can’t control, or things from the past. If guilt starts to really nag at you, take a closer look at what it’s about. Is it truly something you should feel guilty for? If not, that’s definitely excessive guilt. If so, have you already apologized or made amends? Do you continue to feel guilty anyway? Is it about something long in the past, or something you couldn’t control? These could all be signs that the guilt is excessive, from a clinical perspective. This symptom is what we’re often talking about when we say someone is “beating themselves up over something.”
7. Decrease in Hygiene
Related to extreme fatigue, many people with depression can struggle to keep up with their usual personal hygiene routines, including bathing, brushing their teeth and/or hair, washing and wearing clean clothes, wearing deodorant, etc. These changes in hygiene are not because you’re being lazy or “dirty,” but because it’s often incredibly difficult simply to get out of bed and maintain any kind of routine. Many people with depression also struggle with feeling worthless, which makes it harder to care for their bodies.
8. Physical Problems
Physical symptoms, like headaches, nausea, constipation, and chronic pain can also be related to depression. Most of these physical symptoms also relate to anxiety, so keep that in mind! Many people try to push through depression in order to function. After all, you still have to go to work or school, take care of your kids, engage with friends… whatever it is, you’ve got to get it done.
But the depression doesn’t go away. Instead, it often shows up as a physical problem. If you visit the doctor for these kinds of symptoms and there doesn’t seem to be a medical reason, depression could be the culprit, and is worth looking at in greater depth.
Getting Help for Depression
If one or more of these symptoms stood out to you, it may be worth looking more into depression. Several of these symptoms can also relate to anxiety, trauma, and other mental health concerns, so it can be helpful to talk through your experience with a therapist, in order to really find out what’s going on. If you’re in Colorado, our therapists at Authentic Connections Counseling Center can help you take the first step toward healing. We offer in-office visits in Castle Rock, and virtual visits to anyone in Colorado.