Depression Makes You Do These 6 Things Without Realizing It

Have you been struggling with a deep weight or sadness that you can’t seem to shake off? Has it become increasingly difficult to get out of bed every morning?

In the midst of just trying to make it through each day, you may not have noticed certain changes in your own life—in your thoughts, habits, and movements. 

It is important to take a step back and evaluate yourself; to see if you are experiencing these changes, as they might be signs of clinical depression. It is also important to be mindful of these and the possible link with depression in order to learn how to be patient with yourself as you heal.

The items listed in this article were taken from sources that cite symptoms of depression based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5, 2013).

This article is not intended to diagnose or self-treat. Please reach out to a qualified healthcare provider or mental health professional if you are struggling.

With that being said, here are 6 things depression makes you do without realizing it. 

1. Withdraw from activities

Have you been losing interest in things you used to enjoy? You may not have noticed that activities you used to like, such as singing, reading, or maybe even hanging out with friends, aren’t that much fun anymore. You may have even stopped doing these altogether, whether you’ve realized it or not.

Depression is often accompanied by a loss of interest or enjoyment in activities that the person used to take pleasure in. You may not have noticed it, but you could be withdrawing from more and more things that you used to find enjoyable (American Psychiatric Association, n.d.; DSM-5, 2013; Medical News Today, n.d.; The Depression Project, 2021).

2. Feeling worthless or guilty

Depression tends to involve feelings of worthlessness and excessive guilt. You may be blaming yourself for things more than you realize, and even more likely, placing much more blame on yourself than you deserve.

For instance, you might consider yourself to be the sole cause of a breakup, even if your partner had their own faults, or even if they were abusive. In day-to-day situations, you might become preoccupied with events that don’t turn out well, however trivial, and trace these minor mistakes or mishaps to yourself. You may believe these to proof of your own shortcomings.

Without realizing it, you may be spending a great deal of time dwelling on negative experiences, and what you perceive to be your own failings and flaws. In reality, your thoughts may be clouded by depression, leading you to see yourself in an unfairly poor light (American Psychiatric Association, n.d.; DSM-5, 2013; Medical News Today, n.d.; Schimelpfening, 2021).

3. Avoidance or escapism

The negative thoughts and feelings that accompany depression can be overwhelming and difficult to manage. As a result, you may find yourself trying to escape or run away from these thoughts and feelings.

You may be submerging in your phone or in familiar TV series and movies, or perhaps texting late into the night to escape your thoughts. You might avoid talking and thinking about the future, as well, as this can bring up unpleasant feelings (The Depression Project, 2021).

4. Eat less or more

You may or may not have noticed that your appetite has changed. It is important to take a minute to evaluate whether you have been eating properly.

Have you lost your appetite lately? You may be eating less, or perhaps have been feeling the need to force yourself to eat. On the other hand, you may have been using food as a coping mechanism, instead. Food can be comforting, but depression may cause you to over-rely on food for comfort, leading to overeating and craving unhealthy food (American Psychiatric Association, n.d.; DSM-5, 2013; Medical News Today, n.d.).

5. Move differently

As with the change in appetite, the body can be affected by depression, not just the mind. You may or may not have noticed a change in your movements, as well. 

Your physical movements may have slowed down, even without your intention. This is not just a feeling of slower movement—people around you would be able to observe this. Basic actions such as walking, getting out of bed, writing or signing your name might take longer for you to do with this slower movement. 

On the contrary, you might be feeling restless, instead. Even without realizing it, you may be fidgeting, pacing, or wringing your hands lately (American Psychiatric Association, n.d.; DSM-5, 2013; Schimelpfening, 2021).

6. Lose concentration

Another thing you may not have noticed yet is a decline in your ability to focus. It may be more difficult for you to concentrate and make decisions lately. This can affect a wide range of daily activities. You may find yourself delaying chores, and putting off or having greater difficulty with assignments or work. It might be harder to fully concentrate on what you’re reading or watching. You may also find yourself going back and forth with decisions, even when they are minor, daily matters (American Psychiatric Association, n.d.; DSM-5, 2013; Medical News Today, n.d.; Schimelpfening, 2021; The Depression Project, 2021).

Remember, if you are experiencing any of these, you are not alone in dealing with these struggles. Furthermore, understanding the issues better brings you one step closer to healing. Treatment is also an option that has helped many others with depression.

Concluding Remarks

According to the DSM (DSM-5, 2013), to be diagnosed with depression, these (along with other symptoms) must cause clinically significant distress or impairment in your social life, work or school, or other important aspects of life. Symptoms can vary in severity and frequency, depending on the individual. You may experience most of these signs, or perhaps only a few, but more urgent concerns.

For these reasons, it is important to reach out to a professional for a complete diagnosis. If you or anyone you know could be struggling with depression, please do not hesitate to reach out to a qualified mental health care provider.

References

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-5. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publishing; 2013.​

Medical News Today. (n.d.). What does depression feel like? MediLexicon International. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/314071. 

Schimelpfening, N. (2021, January 29). Symptoms of Clinical Depression. Verywell Mind. Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/top-depression-symptoms-1066910. 

The Depression Project. (2021, October 14). Things You May Not Realize You’re Doing Because of Depression. instagram.com. Retrieved from https://www.instagram.com/p/CU_FLX2NKR8/. 

What Is Depression? American Psychiatric Association. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/depression/what-is-depression. 

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