Recognizing Subtle Signs of Depression During Isolation

April 3, 2020

You may have lost count of how many days you’ve been stuck at home, unable to see friends, or go out for dinner. Some people don’t seem to mind the social distancing, but many of us are fighting every day to make sure our mental health is well.

With this in mind, we wanted to highlight some lesser known symptoms of depression. If these sound familiar, you can start taking steps to manage it.

When we hear people talking about depression, there are usually two or three symptoms that are always mentioned: feelings of hopelessness, prolonged feelings of sadness, and loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. While these symptoms are commonly associated with depression, they’re not necessarily the face of this condition for everyone.

While we experience this uncertain time, it’s important to recognize the more subtle signs of depression so you can take action early.

Subtle Signs of Depression

  1. Externalizing or Lashing Out

    It’s not uncommon for someone with depression to experience physical symptoms, like pain or trouble sleeping. These “external” symptoms are particularly prominent among men, but because depression is typically thought of as an emotional condition, these symptoms can often be attributed to other things.

    Hostility and irritability are along the same vein and can also occur with undiagnosed depression. If you notice yourself snapping at a coworker on Zoom or yelling at your kids more often, it could be a sign of a deeper issue. Try asking yourself if your reaction is appropriate for the situation or if you’re feelings of irritability are playing a role.

  1. Trouble Concentrating

    Another frequently overlooked symptom of depression is difficulty concentrating. While focus issues are more often associated with conditions like ADHD, people with depression may also find it difficult to concentrate on a project or task. Circular and repetitive thinking is a possible culprit.

    People with depression (and possibly depression and anxiety) will oftentimes find their minds “stuck” on past experiences – regrets, embarrassing moments, unfished to-do lists – or future worries – quarantine uncertaintity, becoming sick, job security. This loop can be significantly distracting and can cause a “spiraling” effect. This can be what actually drives a person to take a deeper look at their mental health.

  1. Perfectionism

    Perfectionism is often thought of as a positive trait to have, but it’s possible for it to do more harm than good for many people. For those with depression, perfectionism can stem from a cognitive distortion believing that making mistakes will cause others to stop loving or accepting them. This can lead to these individuals to set exceptionally high standards, and if those standards aren’t met, they can end up feeling like a failure.

    Because these expectations are set so high, many people will fall short of them, which can spark feelings of poor self-esteem, guilt, or embarrassment. This cycle can be increasingly harmful to a person’s mental health, so it’s important to recognize this pattern and find ways to stop it when it starts.

It’s important to note other signs that your mental health may need some help, like excessive worry about your own health, changes in sleep or eating patterns, difficulty sleeping, worsening of chronic health problems, increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs.

If these symptoms sound familiar to you, consider virtual counseling or remote brain tarining to help get you through this tough time. Give us a call at 800.600.4096 to learn more.

Walton, Alice. (2015, February 17). “Depression Isn’t Always What You Think: The Subtle Signs.” Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2015/02/17/the-subtle-symptoms-of-depression/#2830d50f1a3e
Bhandari, Smitha. (2018, April 22). “What Are the Causes and Symptoms of Depression?” Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/depression-symptoms-causes#1
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