5 Red Flags of Depression that People Often Miss

Depression has its stereotypes, just like anything else. When people think of depression, they don’t think of someone laughing, but they think of someone very sad. Those who live with depression probably know this isn’t always the case.

My fiance owns a comic and gaming store, and lots of round pegs hang out with us. Many of them have mental health issues. They will come in on their worst days, and you often can’t tell they are depressed. As friends, however, we know other signs and symptoms. Being someone who lives with a mental health diagnosis, I know things aren’t always as simple as just being sad.

  • Loss of interest

It’s often surprising that people miss this, considering it’s always on the list of symptoms of depression. However, people chalk it up to other things without fully thinking it through. For example, a depressed person may lose interest in sex when that is otherwise an activity they pursue regularly. Partners have a tendency to think it’s about others things, such as “She just doesn’t want me anymore,” or that something else is going on. However, sometimes a person needs to back up and remember that the person they are with is sick.

It’s not just your love life is can affect, though. When I am depressed, I stop cleaning. I love to have a clean home, and it gets to the point where I don’t have the energy or interest anymore. Taking a shower can become difficult when you are a person who showers daily. Hobbies are a big thing, too. If someone usually does something as simple as watch TV regularly and stops, you might want to question it.

  • Sleep changes

Changes in sleep can be true for any type of mood swing. Depression is often notorious for excessive sleep. However, it is also known for disturbed and lack of sleep as well.

Either one of these symptoms can be missed based on a person’s general habits, which can be a sign of long-term depression. They can also be missed because of other things going on, which could be causing the depression. Then, there’s my personal favorite: Someone assuming you’re just lazy. And if you’re suddenly getting up earlier, you’re not lazy, because we value that in our society.

Sleep changes are really unhealthy, though. If a person has an irregular sleep schedule, it’s not good for your body. Lack of sleep, and too much sleep are both unhealthy. A person should be getting around 8-10 hours of sleep and going to bed and getting up around the same time every day.

  • Numbness and indifference

People get frustrated when a person suddenly doesn’t seem to care about anything they used to care about. Things as simple as what you want for dinner, or what present to buy your niece for Christmas, have expectations. But when you’re numb and feeling empty, you might just want to grab whatever and go.

The people in your life may start to get offended. You lose your enthusiasm, and seemingly your ability to care. So, a lot of backlash may occur. The people in your life may assume they’ve done something wrong, or that you have just stopped caring about them.

This isn’t true. It’s just part of the illness.

  • Mood Swings

This can be a sign of other illnesses as well, such as bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder. However, depression has its own set of swings.

With depression, it’s not just one feeling all the time. You’re going through a lot of negativity, and once in a while, you might jump on a positive note you want to hang onto. However, you often can’t, you crash and it’s very disappointing. Since you’re unhappy, you may try to make others feel unhappy—whether you mean to or not. You may snap, be okay one second and cry the next.

People get freaked out by this. They don’t understand it. They start to come up with theories and forget what they already know: You suffer from depression.

  • Relationship issues

My 20s were a wild ride of relationships with people who had mental health issues, or just issues. If there’s one thing I have learned, people don’t want to focus on any sort of mental health issue when it comes to relationship issues or a failed relationship. Why? There are different reasons. Some people think if you seek help, you should be doing fine. Others think that a relationship issue involves the relationship itself, and some just want to find someone to blame.

I know my mother always talks about my ex-husband and refers to him as an idiot. I’m not going to say I disagree, but he was also very mentally ill. Granted, he never got treatment.

I’m not going to say that my illness never played a hand in my relationships either. It still does. It’s extremely hard being with someone who has a mental health issue.

If we start examining the deeper parts of depression, we might be able to see exactly what it does to a person’s life. We could save relationships, and treat problems the way they should be treated.

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Jessica is a writer, blogger, and teacher. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from Southern Illinois University and manages the blog The Science of Genesis. She enjoys a good cup of coffee, a good book or movie, and good conversation. Still battling her own mental illness, she spends much of her time learning how to help herself and others. Jessica has an eating disorder, borderline personality disorder, and bipolar disorder. She has also experienced trauma, including domestic violence. She seeks to live a happy, healthy life through treatment and striving every day.

You can follow Jessica on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

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