More threads by David Baxter PhD

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Six Signs You May Be Depressed
by Deborah Gray
Monday, March 26, 2007

Most of us have seen the list of symptoms that indicate possible depression:

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed, including sex
  • Decreased energy, fatigue, being "slowed down"
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
  • Insomnia, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • Appetite and/or weight loss or overeating and weight gain
  • Thoughts of death or suicide; suicide attempts
  • Restlessness, irritability
  • Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain
One of the reasons that it took me so long to recognize that I had depression was not due to the lack of availability of lists of symptoms. I did come across these lists from time to time. But they didn't seem to fit me.

Since I had had depression from an early age, I was used to being sad and anxious, so I didn't know that things could be different. I didn't eat or sleep too much or too little. I never (thankfully) had suicidal thoughts.

I think that these sterile symptoms lists didn't resonate with me, and so I didn't get diagnosed for years. I have compiled a short list of non-medical symptoms of depression that I've experienced in the hopes that it might help someone else move past the more conventional depression symptoms list and recognize their own depression:

  • You've been very self-absorbed. (Of course, given the nature of self-absorption, you may not have realized it until just now.) But you realize that you haven't asked anyone else how things have been going for them in a while.
  • You're irritable. Now, I know you may think that it's actually that everyone else is being irritating as opposed to you being irritable, but think about it ? maybe one or two people are being irritating, but if it seems to be everyone, than chances are very good that it's you. Believe me, I've come to this realization a few times.
  • Escapist activities are taking up a lot of your time. You're either watching TV or movies, playing video or computer games or reading your escapist choice of literature. I know that when I'm reading a lot of scifi/fantasy or spending a lot of time playing role-playing computer games, then something is up with my depression. It's a foolproof tip-off. If I'm reading non-fiction or playing a computer game like The Sims, I'm all right.
  • Normal household chores are not getting done. Your plants are slowly dying, you only do dishes or laundry or grocery shopping when you get close to running out. Your list with all those little projects that we always have going on hasn't been touched in a long time.
  • You're being negative and pessimistic in general. For instance, if you're trying to decide what movie to see with a friend or family member, you shoot down every suggestion of theirs, whereas normally you would be more open.
  • Okay, here's a goofy one. I know that when I start singing along to music that I'm getting better, so obviously I don't do it when I'm depressed. I also listen to music a lot more when I'm not depressed.
Now, I'm not saying that if a certain number of items on my list resonate with you, you should see your doctor. After all, it's a non-medical list of symptoms. But you might want to think about it.


I have had mostly all of those symptoms at one time, but thankfully I am doing good on that front now.


Which list are you both referring to? Is it the first list or the second list (the traditional or non-traditional list). I guess it doesn't quite matter really :rolleyes: because for me I can relate to almost all of them on both lists with the exception of the last one on each.

No surprises that I am depressed :(


Hmmmm well I can tick for most of those, and am not as depressed as I have been just now, in fact am going through a 'mild patch'... hmmmm...Not sure what to make of that..
i'm referring to the second list.


braveheart, that is a good thing. i am glad to hear it. i myself seem to be up and down all over the place. it's odd. i hope you'll continue to improve :)


Yep, I was going on the 2nd list too.

Thanks, lb. Me too. As in, I hope I continue to be not so far down in the pit as I have been.


That's a great list and so very true. I would have liked to have it spelled out for me like tht when I has my first major depressive episode. It's easy to dismiss the symptoms from the more clinical list from the DSM-IV. Except for me, I play the Sims... it's quite escapist, really... controlling your own little people :)
great post, can relate to most at one time or another, with probably one exception the suicide one, I have more feelings of hiding away, closing curtains, switching door bell and phone off, not existing in that sort of way, or sometimes feelings of running away. the computer games and fantasy film is the one I relate to alot too.
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