Less Obvious Symptoms Of Depression

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The common conceptualization of depression includes sadness, hopelessness, a loss of interest in activities that used to be pleasurable, and suicidal ideation. These symptoms are pretty easy to diagnose, even for non-professionals. If a family member looks like they’re constantly on the verge of crying, or ceases to be interested in doing anything fun, or threatens to take their own life, for example, you know you’ve got a problem on your hands and depression probably pops into your head first.

But there are less obvious symptoms that often go undiagnosed for a long time. What we are looking for with these less obvious symptoms is a marked change from ‘normal’ functioning in one direction or the other. For example, people might stop eating much at all or they might start overeating, leading to significant weight loss or significant weight gain. They might get insomnia or hypersomnia, where they’re unable to go to sleep or where they’re drowsy all the time and start sleeping during the day. They might experience psychomotor agitation or retardation, where they feel restless or slowed down.

From the existential point of view, depression manifesting through these less obvious channels sometimes has to do with the tacit refusal to recognize the emotional side at all, the refusal to recognize what would be perceived as weakness. But whether recognized or not, the depression is there and can’t be contained, it’s going to find a way out. Some of the disturbances mentioned above might unconsciously feel safer to people because these symptoms don’t necessarily connote depression. Everyone has experienced insomnia or slept in too long, everyone has eaten too much or too little, everyone has felt agitated or lethargic. In this sense these symptoms represent safer ways to express what can no longer be kept under wraps.