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How I Realized I Was Depressed: 6 Warning Signs

Woman averting her eyes and looking unhappy as she deals with depression
Getty Images/ Martin-dm

For years René Brooks felt like something wasn't quite "right," but she couldn't name what was wrong. Today, René takes us through six recurring behaviors she exhibited before her doctor diagnosed her with depression. Nowadays, she looks at these behaviors as “warning signs.”

As with many others, when I was diagnosed with depression the news didn’t come as a shock. There was this constant feeling in the back of my mind — for years — that something wasn’t quite right. I compared myself and my life to those around me and noticed there was something different about me.

Little things seemed to affect me more than they did others. And when I was down, I had a harder time than most getting back to my usual self. I couldn’t shake the negative feelings no matter how hard I tried.

There were a few key ways that my condition showed itself before I had a definitive answer. Watching out for these signs may help you figure out why you’re feeling down and help you reach out to your healthcare professional sooner.

6 Warning signs of depression I need to watch out for

1. Exhaustion

One of my biggest warning signs of depression was feeling tired all the time. Well, not just tired, but exhausted. Depression led to a fatigue I couldn’t shake. It didn’t feel like I was tired from a long day or a good workout. I was constantly exhausted, and it didn’t matter whether I got plenty of rest or not.

2. Irritability

It’s an understatement to say I was grumpy most of the time. The smallest things would cause me so much frustration. If I went out to eat and the waitress got my order wrong, I’d be upset.

I was always irritable, and it seemed to come out of nowhere. Depression and irritability affected my relationships as nobody wants to be around a grump.

Nowadays, if I can't find obvious reasons for being irritable (hormone fluctuations, bad sleep, physical pain, etc.) I treat mounting irritability as a potential warning sign of depression.

3. Lack of interest

People with depression often experience a loss of interest in things they once enjoyed. This was true for me. I loved reading, but that fell by the wayside.

I used to spend hours crocheting, but I found myself pushing that aside too. Things that used to make me happy had seemingly lost their appeal.

4. An overwhelming sense of hopelessness

When someone is depressed, often their molehills turn into mountains. Any optimism I used to have that things would work out was buried by my depression. I couldn’t figure out how to get motivated again because I believed nothing would ever turn out OK.

Most people will at least have a small amount of optimism driving them to reach a goal or feel gratitude that they’d already got so far. Not having that optimism was definitely a warning sign of depression.

5. Numbness

Many people with depression don’t necessarily feel sad, they feel numb. Unless you’ve been truly depressed, you may not know what it’s like to feel nothing at all. It’s terrifying. You start to question whether you’re ever going to feel anything again.

Out of everything I’ve felt because of my depression, feeling nothing is the scariest of all.

6. Messiness

People with depression sometimes lack the motivation to keep their house clean. Before you know it, dirty clothes, old takeout containers, and so many other things pile up on you.

The mess can start to overwhelm you, and you may feel like it will never get done. This can compound your depressive symptoms even more. It’s a never-ending cycle.

The takeaway

If the above warning signs of depression sound familiar to you, speak with your doctor. You don’t have to spend your life consumed with feelings of emptiness or hopelessness. There are many options available.

Also, you’re not alone. Living with depression is not easy, but with the help of your loved ones and care team, you can learn to manage your symptoms and get back to the things you once enjoyed.

The individual(s) who have written and created the content in and whose images appear in this article have been paid by Teva Pharmaceuticals for their contributions. This content represents the opinions of the contributor and does not necessarily reflect those of Teva Pharmaceuticals. Similarly, Teva Pharmaceuticals does not review, control, influence or endorse any content related to the contributor's websites or social media networks. This content is intended for informational and educational purposes and should not be considered medical advice or recommendations. Consult a qualified medical professional for diagnosis and before beginning or changing any treatment regimen. 


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