Health And Wellness

4 Feelings You Didn't Know Might Mean You're Depressed

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depressed woman

Dealing with depression is easiest when you notice the signs of depression early and can take care of them as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, when depression symptoms are too subtle, it's difficult to take care of your mental health because you don't realize what's even going on.

RELATED: 9 Subtle Signs Of Depression I Was Too Depressed To Notice

​Now, years after suffering a big depression of my own, one that landed me in bed for whole days at a time or on the side of the road sobbing after dropping my kids off at their dad’s house, I realize the subtle cues I missed that could have kept me from going down a long and lonely road.

Had I caught these subtle cues, I not only could have prevented about two years of depression, but I would also have many more years to live my life to its fullest, do meaningful work and enjoy exceptional relationships.

To know how to deal with depression, you need to find out where those sudden feelings of loneliness and sadness are coming from.

4 Feelings You Didn't Know Might Mean You're Depressed

1. Not having an opinion

It’s totally normal not to have an opinion about what you do or where you go sometimes, but not having an opinion a majority of the time is one subtle sign of depression.

Think about that word quite literally — "depress."

To depress oneself means to not express oneself or to stifle expression. Why might we stifle our expression in the form of not having an opinion?

A big reason is the fear of rejection. We may be afraid if we voice our opinions then they will not be met with agreement by other people in our lives, and somewhere inside of us, we decide that it’s best to keep our mouths shut.

It becomes more comfortable not to express our opinions rather than potentially having a disagreement, because conflict is uncomfortable. Many of us try to avoid it all costs.

But what is the cost? The cost is depressing our expression of ourselves in our relationships, which ultimately leads to the other person not knowing who we really are.

Then we become the type of person who says things like, "I wish my husband understood me." But what we don’t realize is that he can’t understand if we don’t express ourselves. We don’t even understand, accept, and love ourselves!

2. Saying "I don't care"

Saying "I don’t care" is similar to not having an opinion, except "I don’t care" is about depressing our expression to our internal self.

Sometimes, we sincerely don’t have a preference. However, when we actually do but we say, "I don’t care" — either to another or to ourselves — we are lying about our feelings and trying to make an excuse to feel better.

Using "I don’t care" communicates that we are not important and what we want is not important. We may choose to say "I don’t care" in order to be more agreeable.

However, avoiding the outer conflict of having an opinion leads to inner conflict because we do care that we have an opinion, but we are not expressing it.

RELATED: 8 Subtle, Often Ignored Signs You're Actually Depressed

3. Not knowing what you want

Saying "I don't know" may feel very true when it’s coming out of our mouths or when we hear it in our heads, but it is another lie. Lack of clarity around what we want stems from our inability to express our thoughts and feelings to another person or ourselves.

The inner conflict around what we want starts very early in childhood when we are taught the difference between "good" people and "bad" people.

Unfortunately, some things we want in life challenge the beliefs we have learned about what it means to be good. So we fear that others will perceive us as "bad" and we stuff those desires so far inside that we can’t hear them anymore.

We think we don’t know what we want, but the little soft whispers of the heart are under so many layers of self-judgments that we can’t even hear them — let alone express them.

Sometimes, when we hear those whispers but think we can’t have what we want, we decide not to share those desires with others or even with ourselves.

4. Having a lack of purpose

Feeling we do not have a purpose is another subtle sign of depressing ourselves. Without strong opinions, strong emotions, and strong desires, we believe that we do not know our purpose in the world.

It seems muddled, but clarity is there — just pushed so far down in the depression that we can’t see or feel it.

We are all here for powerful reasons in this world. And if you know you’re here for a reason but you don’t know what that reason is, you are not living your full expression. The continuation of that pattern could lead you into deeper despair.

Communication is at the heart of our ability to live with an exceptional quality of life. Opening communication with others is important, but communicating with ourselves and the world are equally important elements of expression.

When we are not fully expressing our thoughts, emotions, and desires, we are depressing. There is no way to express and depress at the same time. What will you choose?

RELATED: The Signs Of Depression In Men (And Why Guys Show They're Depressed So Differently)

Ani Anderson is a master coach, speaker, business mentor, and author.