Health And Wellness

5 Signs You May Not Be Sick — You May Be Depressed

Photo: Pixel-Shot / Shutterstock
depressed man sitting on the floor

It's essential for people to know when they are depressed because then they stop misinterpreting their lives.

For example, if you know you’re depressed, you don’t think, "I’m upset because of my husband, if I leave him the problem will go away," or "This is all because of my crappy job." 

Obviously, such framing can have devastating consequences if acted upon in the vain hope that all your issues are external.

In this article, I will discuss 5 more signs that you may be depressed rather than sick, sick of your situation, or just a deeper thinker than average (all common misinterpretations of the biological brain condition of depression). 

Here are 5 signs you may not be sick, you may be depressed:

1. You stop caring about friends

You cannot bring yourself to text or call friends and scheduling a hangout seems like a tremendous burden. Your friends themselves seem irritating to you and you tell yourself that you’re just at a new phase of life and have outgrown them.

In other situations, you pick fights with them (of course you don’t admit this) and lose them that way.

Either way, you do not replace these friends with new ones, and you feel generally distrustful and cynical about relationships with other humans.

RELATED: 50 Depression Quotes That Capture What Being Depressed Really Feels Like

2. You have unexplained medical ailments

You research everything in the world because you are looking for a diagnosis to explain your constellation of symptoms — from stomach issues to back issues to headaches to fatigue.

Many people go down a holistic research rabbit hole. I am all about holistic approaches, but also keep in mind that depression is associated with somatic symptoms.

This does not mean your pain is in your head. I mean, it does, but only because your brain is in your head and the same pathways that mediate physical pain mediate emotional pain.

The phrase "mind-body connection" in and of itself creates a false dichotomy. For most, depression IS pain and pain IS depression. Depression is not "being sad," just like cancer is not "having a lump."

3. You have no sex drive, even for masturbation

Sex drive goes down in monogamy and also when you’re unhappy with your partner.

But if you used to be a sexual person and you notice a significant drop in your desire (even, for women, around ovulation), this is a sign that depression has invaded the host organism of your body.*

RELATED: 10 Agonizing Truths Depressed People Never Talk About

4. You move very slowly

Sometimes, people even notice, like when you’re walking with your kids and they are kind of surprised and annoyed that you are going slowly. Others may also notice that you are speaking slowly.

This is called psychomotor slowing and it is a hallmark criterion of major depressive disorder.

5. You feel guilty all the time

You go back in your mind to times you’ve "failed" and relive them.

For me, this is like a time I yelled really harshly at my then-toddler daughter when I was depressed.

You go over and over these memories and make yourself feel worse every time. You may even start thinking you are a bad person and deserve every bad thing you get, because of these key "failures."

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

* I like this host organism invaded by depression analogy because it shows how insidious depression is and how it affects ALL systems of your body. Nobody expects a person invaded by an alien in a horror movie to jump up and go for a quick run, scoffing, "This alien invader is only in my stomach, guys! My legs are fine!"

If these symptoms describe your experience, reach out to a therapist and get evaluated for depression.

There is so much you can try if you are depressed even in addition to therapy and meds. Everyone deserves to live their best life and to feel present and engaged in the world and everything in it.

RELATED: 7 Brutal Truths We Wish Everyone Knew About Depression

Dr. Samantha Rodman Whiten, aka Dr. Psych Mom, is a clinical psychologist in private practice and the founder of DrPsychMom. She works with adults and couples in her group practice Best Life Behavioral Health.

This article was originally published at Dr. Psych Mom. Reprinted with permission from the author.