What is Depression?
Depression is a mental disorder that affects many people. Yet, many of us don’t know we have it. We just think it’s part of life because, well, we’ve always known it to be that way. Not to mention, many of us don’t feel comfortable and safe enough to open up to others.
I myself have undiagnosed depression. I’ve always known I have it because, as a little girl, I’d cry myself to sleep and wish I were either someone else’s kid or dead. I also struggled to learn in school, finding it hard to concentrate and comprehend material; As an adult I get easily triggered and find myself losing interest immediately. (It may take me days to re-regulate.) I also have a hard time falling asleep at night.
My struggles are more common signs of depressive disorder, or depression. There are other symptoms that may not be so noticeable.
5 Things People with Undiagnosed Depression Do:
- Talk to Oneself
Childhood traumas play a huge role in our adult behaviors, whether or not we’re aware of them. Some of us may have been left to learn on our own, play by ourselves, and even parent ourselves. This gave us plenty of time and space to talk to ourselves.
However, talking to oneself does not necessarily mean you have a mental disorder. It can actually be good for your health. Self-talk, as this is known, helps you learn and understand yourself. An example is guiding yourself through a long, hard process, to stay motivated and on task. Another example is weighing the pros and cons of a tough decision.
However, if you find that you’re talking to yourself negatively or critically, you’re lonely, and you lack a supportive social group, to name a few, consider speaking to a mental health provider, as this may be a sign of depression.
- Have Imaginary Friends
As mentioned above, some of us may talk to ourselves due to childhood traumas. We may have developed imaginary friends to cope with loneliness or avoid a toxic home.
Yet, having an imaginary friend does not necessarily mean you have a mental disorder or illness. The ability to imagine, or have an imagination, is super important. It allows us to problem-solve, experiment, get creative, predict outcomes, try out different worlds/realities without having to act upon it, and so forth.
Be weary, however, if this imaginary friend is negative, critical, talks poorly to you, is discouraging, or encourages self-harm, to name a few. It’s a good thing if your imaginary friend props you up, but if they bring you down, make you feel terrible about yourself, and keep you from socializing with others, this is when seeking help becomes necessary.
- Cling to an Addiction
Addictions come in many forms. The obvious ones are consuming alcohol and other drug use. Other ones include: staying in an unhealthy relationship, toxic spending, non-stop gaming, gambling, and so forth.
However, there are healthier alternatives out there. We may cling to addictions due to the chemicals that are released in our bodies (and we may not even associate this), such as endorphins and dopamine when we exercise, which help us alleviate stress and feel happy. Cleaning the house, or decluttering, is also a healthy addiction. As you physically declutter your home, you are mentally decluttering your mind. (Sorry for the repetitive word.) You are clearing up space–think of it as deleting useless information on your phone–to make space for more useful things.
When should you be concerned? An addiction becomes concerning when it CONTROLS your life. It may even become an Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Please seek a therapist or medical professional if you find yourself unable to live life due to an addiction.
Daydreaming allows us to escape from reality. Hands-up, who hasn’t flown into another world during class? I admit, as a kid, I did it often during work time. My work was either completed or I was bored of the repetitive assignments. According to Walden University, daydreaming can be beneficial, as it can boost creativity and relieve stress and anxiety.
Concern arises when you spend too much time daydreaming, becoming lost in another world, instead of focussing on reality. This is known as Maladaptive Daydreaming (MDD). It can also be concerning if your daydreams are only focussed on negativity, and not on positivity and hopeful thoughts and desires.
If you, or a loved one, spend too much time in your/their head than reality, please seek help.
- Feel Numb or Indifferent
Emotional numbness can be best described as feeling empty inside. Therefore everything around you does not stir up any emotions in or from you. Feeling emotionally numb towards friends and family, or the things that once interested you, can be quite concerning.
Indifference, or feeling “meh” about something or a situation, can also be worrying. This could mean you lack personal interests or passions, and you don’t have the ability or drive to do something, such as finish the painting you started or return to the gym. (See EduBirdie.com for more information on The Negativity of Indifference or Apathy).
However, the feeling of indifference or numbness should not be seen as fully bad. It’s okay to feel super excited about some things, and so-so about others. Personal examples–I love classical music but I feel meh towards country music; If someone enthusiastically talks to me about the latest action-adventure movie, and I have yet to see it, I may show no emotions towards it.
If you find that you being emotionally numb or indifferent is not due to something healthy, it could be a sign of depression or other concerns.
Those of us with undiagnosed depression may not even know we have depressive disorder. We may just think we’re living life as we’re meant to, doing the things we’ve always done. The best way to measure if support is needed from a mental health or medical professional is if negative thoughts and behaviors, about life and others, is controlling your life. Please know that you are not alone, and we’re truly all in this thing called life together.
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