What Depression Looks Like to Others: 6 Signs You Don’t “Have it Together”

Usually, when talking about depression, the emphasis is around creating awareness for those who have this mental health condition.

However, what often doesn’t get discussed is what depression looks like to others in your life.

Your friends, family, or colleagues may notice subtle signs that something is off, but may not be able to connect the dots.

Here are six signs that you don’t have it all together, even if you pretend you do.

Depression Sign #1: Distractedness

Now, let’s face it, everyone gets distracted occasionally; and for some, that’s more often than others. However, if you are the type of person that normally can stay focused, but now are struggling to stay on task at work or pay attention in a meeting, that could be a sign that something is wrong.

Depression Sign #2: Anger

Anger is another sign that you might be struggling with depression, yet others may not realize that this the case. If you blow up at your spouse and have an argument, what depression looks like for them is:

  • You’re hurting their feelings
  • You’re responding inappropriately
  • You intimidated or scared them into not continuing the conversation

Why is anger such a common sign of depression? Depressed people often feel helpless, scared, overwhelmed, or dejected. This creates feelings of powerlessness. When we feel powerless we try to reach out to regain some of that power, which often manifests itself in anger.

Depression Sign #3: Food

How you eat, or not eat, can be a sign to others in your life that something is wrong. Whether it is overindulging in food or restricting yourself, changes in eating patterns can be noticeable.

For example, let’s say that you go out to dinner with friends. Everyone chooses a meal from the menu, but perhaps you only opt for something very small, or even nothing at all. When you’re depressed you often either lack the motivation to eat or, on the other hand, you overindulge in food to cope with your feelings.

Depression Sign #4: Social Media

Social media platforms are everywhere and easily accessible on your devices. Most people use social media, but if you are depressed you could easily end up overindulging.

For instance, you may get lost scrolling through your feed. Or perhaps you even feel more depressed because it looks like everyone else is happy and having fun. Yet, you don’t realize that you are losing time at work to get projects done, or are isolating yourself at home from your family.

Depression Sign #5: Alcohol Use

Have you noticed that your alcohol use has increased lately? If you are the type of person that normally only has a glass of wine occasionally or a beer during dinner but are now drinking more, that can be a sign of depression.

You may have even had people mention to you that they noticed you are drinking more often or are getting drunk. Remember, the number of drinks per week which is considered excessive drinking is 8 drinks for women and 15 drinks for men.

Depression Sign #6: Emotional Distancing

It used to be that you and your partner talked about everything—hopes and dreams, the kids, plans for the weekend. At work, you were actively engaged with your colleagues and socialized during lunch.

Now, though, something is wrong. You keep your distance at the office and when you get home you just go to the basement, your study, or your bedroom and close the door. When you are not connecting with the people most important in your life that is a sign something is off.

Even if you think you have it all together, the reality is you don’t. What depression looks like to others is very different from what you feel deep down inside. They may not realize you are depressed, but they probably have figured out that something is wrong, no matter how hard you try to hide it.

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