What can I say about depression other than it sucks. It literally sucks all your energy, your focus, and your emotion out of your life and leaves you feeling hollow. When you think of depression, you think of overwhelming sadness, but it does not always start that way. It’s often these hidden signs of depression that invade your life first.
This is my personal experience with my own hidden depression symptoms. Hidden signs of depression in women is different than depression in men. Your own experience may vary from mine. When in doubt, talk to a mental health professional about your hidden signs of depression and have a professional evaluation.
While I have hacked mental health for over 20 years, that experience does not make me a mental health professional. I am just a girl living with mental illness. This content is educational and informative and is not to replace the advice of your mental health team or doctor. Try these tips at your own risk.
For more information, please see my disclosure.
For you to have a legal service dog, you need to have documentation from YOUR mental health doctor or therapist stating how a service dog will improve your life (not a fake online registry or an online doctor that is trying to scam you out of your money). Please consult YOUR personal doctor to add a service dog to your treatment plan.
For more information on psychiatric service dogs, contact a disability lawyer or visit the Official ADA Website.
- My Hidden Signs of Depression
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My Hidden Signs of Depression
I will not sugar coat it. Depression is a sneaky bitch that will destroy you from the inside out if you don’t take steps to treat it; whether that is medication, self care, or therapy. And when you have other mental illnesses, the hidden signs of depression are even harder to spot.
I have suffered from mental illness for most of my life. Feeling “off” is not odd for me. So when I had my medications adjusted almost 3 months ago, I wrote it off as detoxing from one medication and adjusting to another. –I made these medication changes over time with the help of my doctor. Do not attempt medication changes or halt your medication without consulting your doctor.-
I suffer from ADHD and PTSD as well, so when new symptoms came up, I wrote it off as those illnesses and started my self care routine for it. After all, I had been stressed with all the crazy in my life and had those recent med changes. There was no reason to suspect that it’s anything else.
But it was actually the hidden signs of depression lurking under the disguise of my other health issues. –Clever girl…. Depression 1, me 0.-
I was irritable and moody all the time.
As a girl with ADHD, I honestly thought this was the problem. But when my medication was adjusted to a higher dose and other ADHD symptoms improved, my irritation did not.
Irritability is often a hidden sign of depression because we often associate it with another illness or the stress in our lives.
I got a wake up call to my irritability when one night after falling asleep, my husband came home and crawled into bed with me. Koda, my service dog in training, hijacked my husband’s pillow, blankets and side of the bed. –He had gotten a little too used to my husband crawling into bed at 3-4 am after his shift.-
When he got into bed that day, he had to adjust the bedding. Well apparently, even in my sleep, that was the last straw. I woke up and snapped at him for just trying to be comfortable. –I take full responsibility for my actions and apologized the next day. I also sent a note to my doctor to put on file so we could chat about it at our next appointment. This was my bad.-
And it wasn’t this once. I was waking up irritated. Before I got out of bed, I was angry and frustrated. My world was full of negativity despite my efforts to think positively.
My self care vacation didn’t really put a dent in my sour mood, but gave me some temporary relief.
My happy and loving demeanor was gone. It was replaced with a jittery and angry woman who couldn’t feel anything else. I was left feeling empty.
My house was messy.
I keep a pretty tidy house. It’s not perfect, by any standard, and won’t be featured in any home magazines, but it’s clean, healthy, and works for our family.
I noticed not too long ago that there were little bits of leaves on the floor, little piles of dog toy stuffing, and little cobwebs in corners. And while healthy me would jump and get those little piles cleaned up; depressed me wasn’t concerned at all. –When I am healthy I have a VERY tidy home. I LOVE to clean and organize!-
This is a hidden sign of depression in women. You just don’t have the mental or physical energy to do chores. The dishes pile up in the sink; you have baskets of unfolded or unwashed laundry, those little piles of clutter form on surfaces, and you feel you just cannot catch up.
I wasn’t sleeping well. Physical exhaustion crept in.
This hidden symptom of depression made me call my doctor. Despite taking sleeping medication prescribed to me and practicing good sleep hygiene, I could not fall asleep and stay asleep. Any sleep that I got was not restorative, and I would spend a good chunk of my day napping.
I was tired ALL THE TIME, and that fatigue made me crankier than ever! I was stuck in an endless loop of sub par sleep, cranky days, an unclean home, and then repeat.
For me, napping during the day was my sign that something mentally was wrong. Even if I had gotten 8 hours of sleep, I couldn’t make it to 10 am without napping. –I like a good nap just like anyone else, but it was not optional anymore. I called my doctor for help.-
Sleeping problems alerted me to my hidden signs of depression. It made me take a harder look at my current state of mind.
I started avoiding activities I loved.
As a woman with mental illness, I have learned to include stress relief hobbies in my week. And normally, this time of year would excite me. The warm weather meant it was time to include some of my favorite hobbies: hiking, furniture DIY, and gardening!
So when the warm weather came, and I didn’t want to do anything but sit on my couch and stare at my tv; I knew I was depressed.
Depression makes it hard to move. Basic self care such as showering, brushing teeth, eating healthy, and getting dressed are a challenge when you’re depressed. If you can get all that done when you’re depressed, I salute you! I cannot. I don’t have enough mental energy (or spoons) to get all that done.
But doing anything fun feels like too much. I avoid anything that takes thought to do. No matter how much joy it would give me. Doing tasks was too much for me. For me, lack of interest is a hidden sign of depression.
Hidden signs of depression will often take your joy and motivation from you.
I felt sick and injured.
You would think with all the napping I was doing, I would feel good. Nope. I felt ill. I had this achy feeling all over my body. My head, chest, legs, hips, and even my toes ached.
A hidden sign of depression is body aches. Most of us dismiss them as a cold, flu, or doing too many squats at the gym. But this hidden sign of depression is common.
Depression can make you feel sick and tired.
I couldn’t concentrate.
I blew off this hidden sign of depression at first, as it’s a common symptom of my ADHD. But the more that I tried to get my mind together to do a simple task, the more I struggled.
I wasn’t able to read without having to repeat it several times. I haven’t been able to read a book for months. And while I am still trying to read blogs and social media, it’s hard to stay focused.
I was botching recipes and burning food because I couldn’t get my mind to focus. My hidden signs of depression kept me from eating well.
I started losing things again. My hidden depression symptom caused me to not pay attention to where I have been placing things. Thankfully, the items I have lost have not been my wallet or keys.
I started avoiding social interactions.
All my hidden depression symptoms have made it hard to focus when its just me. Not to mention when I have to interact with people.
Right now, I am avoiding meeting up with my buddies, responding to some texts or calls, or engaging in conversations at all, because my brain just doesn’t have the power to process it.
I’m easily overwhelmed, and being out in public right now is a challenge. Thankfully, I have this workbook and Koda to help me negate my social anxiety.
Depression can make you feel vulnerable, overwhelmed, sad, anxious, tense, and more. And it’s difficult to be social when you have some much going on emotionally. Those feelings make you feel you need to take a break from family, friends, and loved ones.
A short isolation (a few days at most) is fine, but depression puts you into a spiral where you want to shun the world. The depression is creating the perfect environment for it to thrive.
I contacted my doctor to help me conquer this hidden sign of depression so I could get back to the people that I love.
My appetite was inconsistent.
Depression does weird things to my stomach. I have suffered from severe GI issues since 2013 so most of my meals are homemade so I can keep my gut functioning properly. Depression make me crave foods I don’t normally eat.
Eating gives me a dopamine boost. It’s a self rewarding behavior. And my brain is chasing that when I am depressed. I craved chocolate for an instant mood boost. I craved more processed food for that quick sugar rush.
So eating healthy, which takes more work, was harder for me to achieve when my brain wanted quick relief. Those good habits that I took years to learn, were quickly being tossed away with my candy wrapper.
My husband noticed this hidden depression symptom when I asked him to get me some peanut butter cups so I could boost my mood. He asked me to check with my doctor, as I was not getting the typical mood boost that one snack chocolate normally provided. Normally, a chocolate and a good night’s sleep would improve my mood dramatically, but it was not working this time.
And then there were the days that I was not hungry at all. No matter how long it had been between meals, I had no appetite. It was gone, POOF!
My rapid appetite changes prompted me to seek help so I can get back on track.
Depression is a mood disorder that wrecks havoc on our lives. Some people are very blessed and never show signs of depression.
But after the past 2 years (2019-2021) we all are probably experiencing a few hidden signs of depression. Some of us for the first times in our lives.
It leaves you feeling confused. What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I shake this mood? I feel so empty.
If you feel you are suffering from depression, call your doctor and get an appointment for an assessment. Don’t be afraid to ask others for help. You are NOT your thoughts! You deserve to feel good.
Question: Do you have hidden signs of depression that are not included in this list? Tell me about your experience in the comments!
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