6 Surprising Signs That You’re Struggling with Depression

how media shapes our view of PTSDMost people know the telltale signs of depression: a deep, sinking sadness, loss of hope, a bleak outlook on life, and weight and appetite changes. As psychologist Deborah Serani, Psy.D, said, most people also picture a slow-moving individual with sloped shoulders who’s unable to get out of bed.

While for some people the above is absolutely true, for others, different signs are more prominent and indicative of depression—signs that might surprise you. Below are six symptoms to watch out for.

You have a super short fuse. Irritability is a common sign of depression in men, but it also shows up in women. For example, a client came to psychotherapist Rachel Dubrow, LCSW, to work on her short fuse at work. She’d get so frustrated that she’d cry in front of coworkers, and cause conflict—which made them not want to work with her. She also was exhausted and overwhelmed. She’d start projects but didn’t have the energy to finish them. (She had other symptoms, too, including insomnia, hopelessness, helplessness, low self-esteem and loss of interest.)

Janina Scarlet, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist and founder of Superhero Therapy, worked with a client who had just broken up with her boyfriend because of his cheating. She told Scarlet that she was happy to be rid of him and felt “fine.” A week later she mentioned feeling irritable around her friends. Little things that normally didn’t bother her—a friend chewing gum, a friend texting while talking to her—made her absolutely furious. She started finding people “too annoying” to be with, so she started isolating herself. She also snapped at her parents, stopped working on a school project and lost interest in activities she used to enjoy. As she and Scarlet dug deeper, it turned out that beneath the client’s anger were feelings of grief, hurt and rejection.

Teens at risk for depression also are more likely to be irritable than sad, said Serani, who specializes in treating patients with mood disorders and has authored several books on depression. For instance, Serani worked with a high school senior who was getting into trouble at school and fighting with his parents, who were concerned about his disruptive, disrespectful behavior. He wasn’t completing assignments, and was missing a lot of school.

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