If you know someone who’s stoic and doesn’t wear her heart on her sleeve, then it’s hard to know when she’s depressed. She won’t ask for help and she’ll deal with her depression on her own. Here are five signs that someone is dealing with depression in silence.
She’s emotionally numb
Depression tears at emotions and can make someone feel numb or empty. She’ll be disconnected from emotion, unable to analyze how she feels, viewing things with an apathetic or uncaring perspective. According to Thomas Scheff, Ph.D of Psychology Today, “The phrase shutting down (of all emotions) seems particularly apt for describing the experience of depression: depressed persons often describe the experience as feeling blank, empty or hollow.” She won’t respond to affection or kindness the way she used to, and she might even reject concern from others and say that she’s fine, when she’s not.
If she starts to quietly withdraw from things she loved to do or from loved ones, then it’s a sure sign that she’s depressed. She won’t reach out and she’ll face her pain on her own, whether to not bother anyone or because she doesn’t want to seem helpless. According to Susan Biali, M.D of Psychology Today about depression and withdrawing, “You don’t go out and do the things that you did before, you stop reaching out to others, you lose your confidence to try what you might have previously embraced or had the courage to face.”
Fatigue and depression go hand in hand, because depression is a very tiring mental illness. It debilitates the mind, making it go into overdrive each hour of the day. This tires out the sufferer but prevents her from getting restful sleep at night. Often, depression spurs insomnia due to reoccurring thoughts.
According to an article published in the journal Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience, “Fatigue is one of the most prevalent presenting symptoms of MDD (Major Depressive Disorder), the second most prominent residual symptom of MDD, and is often associated with impaired concentration, irritability, and reduced productivity.” If you notice someone looks more tired than usual or if she’s not getting as much sleep as she used to, then she might be depressed.
Her behavior changes
If you notice someone undergoing behavioral changes such as staying in her room all day, losing or gaining her appetite, or losing interest in things or people she loved, then she’s suffering from depression. Depression warps the mind, messes with emotions, and tires out the mind and body, which makes the sufferer change her life. According to John Ballew, licensed professional counselor, “People experiencing depression typically find that there is a change in their appetites: they may eat more (or sometimes lose all interest in food) or they may lose interest in sex.”
Depression brings negativity and pessimism in its wake, often giving the suffer a jaded, angry perspective of the world. She’ll lose hope in her future and lose faith in things that were beneficial. She might even shut down anyone who tries to change her mind. According to the medical website Everyday Health, “Having depression tends to make you filter the world through negative thoughts to the point that it distorts reality and your overall outlook on life.” Depression feeds on pessimism in an endless loop, both reinforcing each other and darkening the sufferer’s quality of life.
Targum, S. D., & Fava, M. (2011). Fatigue as a residual symptom of depression. Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience, 8(10), 40-3.