Depression is complicated. It's not always the most in-your-face of conditions, and the severity and the way it affects the person vary based on an individual's situation. And although only a doctor can actually diagnose the condition, there are some common habits that could be signs of depression.
It can be hard to discern when you've crossed the line from a typical daily habit to a sign that there's something else going on. Oftentimes it comes down to change, as Marianne Clyde, a licensed marriage and family therapist, tells Romper. The changes themselves may be subtle. You likely won't go from never doing something to doing it regularly in a short period of time, which can make it difficult for you to notice yourself. This is why Clyde says it you notice changes in a friend or family member, gently reaching out is a good idea. If your habits or routines are unusual for you and your life circumstances, they may be signs that things aren't OK. If you're concerned that you have a habit — or many habits — that might signal depression, reaching out to a qualified therapist or counselor might be a good idea. They'll be able to help you figure out if the habit is nothing to worry about or if you might benefit from getting some help for your depression. Either way, you'll know.
1. Staying Up Too Late
Staying up too late or sleeping too long can be signs that something is wrong. Of course, there could be a reason for the late-night session every so often. Generally speaking, however, Clyde says an abnormal or unproductive sleep schedule could be a sign of depression. Long afternoon naps can also be a sign, especially if they're not just a one-off.
2. Watching Too Much TV For A Long Period Of Time
Many people's evening activities include cleaning out their DVR. That being said, if you're spending your day watching hour after hour of television or using TV as a crutch to stay home instead of going out with family or friends, it could be a sign of depression. "If you find yourself wanting to curl up on the couch with some food and Netflix that is totally OK, but if it becomes a daily routine this can become a problem," therapist Kimberly Hershenson tells Romper by email. "Social isolation leads to anxiety, depression, and loneliness."
3. Going Out Every Night
It's good to be social and spend time out with others. But if you go from spending Friday or Saturday nights out with friends to partying every night of the week, Clyde says hat could be a sign that there's another problem. Drastically changing behaviors like that could mean that you're trying to avoid something else.
4. Making Up Plans To Avoid Friends Or Family
On the other hand, trying to avoid friends and family can be another sign of depression. That's not to say you don't deserve a night alone, but too much isolation might mean you're running from something. "If your partner or friend starts missing their favorite yoga class and has a different excuse (a type of covering up technique) each time, they may be trying to hide their emotions," licensed marriage and family therapist Michelene Wasil tells Romper by email. When this happens, the person likely feels as though they're dealing with the situation by avoiding the topic altogether.
5. Skipping Your Workouts
Missing a workout here or there because you're exceptionally busy or just too tired to make it to the gym isn't all that big a deal. If you've all but stopped going, however, Hucherson says it could be a sign that all is not right, says Hershenson
6. Heading To The Mall On A Regular Basis
Shopping can be fun and a nice distraction, but regularly relying on shopping or spending money to distract you from how you're feeling or what's going on in your life could be sign that you're depressed, as therapist Thai-An Truong tells Romper in an email exchange. Playing dress up is a fun, make believe game for kids which lets them make up a whole different world and life. Spending all your time in the dressing room can do the same for you.
7. Dismissing Achievements Or Accomplishments
Although humility is generally considered to be a good trait to have, if you find yourself regularly dismissing or downplaying your accomplishments, you might want to ask yourself why. "People with this habit may be perceived as being humble or having high standards of themselves, which are two virtues that are encouraged to have by our society and culture," psychologist Dr. Pei-Han Cheng tells Romper by email. "However, this habit may actually be a manifestation of their feelings of worthlessness." It can be a difficult habit to break, but you worked hard to accomplish all you have — don't dismiss that.
Even if these habits don't apply to you, but you feel like something is wrong, there's absolutely nothing wrong with reaching out to get some help.