By Ari Eastman
1. You are unmotivated to finish things.
The misconception about depression is that it always involves a lot of crying and empty tissue boxes. Depression feels like an absence of emotions. It’s a terrible muted feeling, like your insides have been scooped out and you’ve got to fake it somehow. This emptiness makes it hard to get things done. Your brain says, “What’s the point?”
2. You don’t respond to texts in a timely manner.
You ghost relationships, and not just romantic ones. You just kind of check out. You don’t know how to explain what’s going on without hurting someone’s feelings. (It’s not you, seriously, it’s me, I’m depressed)
3. You sleep a lot.
And then don’t sleep when you should. People who suffer from depression tend to also struggle with insomnia. You’re constantly exhausted and nap frequently. Sometimes it’s because you’re tired. And sometimes it’s because sleep feels like the only thing you can do.
4. You turn down opportunities you actually want.
You cancel social plans. You don’t follow up on a cool job opportunity. You hide, even when you wish you wouldn’t. Part of you feels undeserving. And the other part of you feels like you’ll find a way to ruin it, so it’s best to just say no.
5. You find ways to self-medicate.
Here’s the thing, self-medication isn’t always alcohol or drug related. Working out for hours on the treadmill can be a form of self-medication. Maybe binge-watching a show on Netflix is an escape. If it’s something you rely on, something you use TOO MUCH, it’s a vice. You know it’s not the healthiest way to deal with your illness, but sometimes you just need something to get you through the day.
6. You seem apathetic.
It’s not because you don’t care about your friends. It’s not because you don’t care about what’s going on around you. You do, on some level. But your depression makes that difficult. Everything is empty. Even when you wish it wasn’t.
7. You act like you’re fine.
Because maybe you’re not ready for everyone to ask how you’re doing. Not everyone knows how to respond to depression. Some flip out. Some act like it’s a contagious disease. Maybe you’re just trying to survive and you don’t want that to be a public spectacle.