How to Know if it’s Depression

How to know if you're depressed

In the past I have had people say to me that they feel a certain way or have done a certain thing and wonder, “is this depression?” Now, I want to be clear from the start, depression looks different for different people. I can only share my own experience. But, these are traits that seem to be *fairly* common among those of us that struggle.

So, what to do if these characteristics describe YOU? Here again, different things work for different people. First and foremost, TALK to someone! Do not suffer alone! Counseling is NOTHING to be ashamed of, but if you can’t afford that, a good friend or pastor or your doctor are also great places to start. Here are some more links that may help you: Natural Ways I’m Fighting Depression, Best Biblical Book on Depression, Practical Tips for Struggling Moms.

How to Know if it’s Depression

1. You’re tired all the time, but “tired” isn’t really the word you’re looking for. For me, tired didn’t begin to cover what I was feeling. I would say I was tired, but I would be thinking on the inside, “you have no idea.” Not being able to get out of bed is pretty common for those that are struggling. But it’s more than a physical tiredness. It is mental exhaustion. It is beyond that “emotionally drained” feeling you have after a big event in your life. You just can’t even make one.more.decision because your brain feels incapable of thinking clear thoughts.

2. Motivation is a thing of the past. This was a HUGE one for me. I could not find motivation to fix dinner, wash clothes, even smile and make small talk. And it wasn’t that I just couldn’t “muster up the energy.” Depression makes these normal, everyday things feel flat out impossible. Like in my brain, I was thinking, “there is no possible way I can get these dishes loaded into the dishwasher.” It wasn’t laziness, it was a mental block, my body would not let me move forward.

3. Irritability and anger are much more present in your life. This was a very real struggle for me. I would not feel my best and become soooo irritable. The irritability led to much guilt in my mothering. It was just a vicious cycle. I would snap at my family for tiny, normal kid things. And I would snap for NO good reason at all. I hated it about myself but felt helpless to change it. I could tell when I woke up in the morning before I even talked to one person if it was going to be a good day or a bad day. It felt like a switch in my brain.

4. You don’t have the words to pray. I’m so thankful that when we don’t have the words to pray, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us. Because, I’m sure most of you know, when you are going through something hard, day in and day out, sometimes you lose the words. Often it was hard for me to talk to actual human people in my life, let’s be honest, I’m an introvert and conversation isn’t always easy on a regular day! ha! But, during these times, I often could not even think of the words that I wanted to speak. Forming the words in my mouth was difficult and felt impossible. So praying? I would go before God, with tears streaming down my face, and just sit in His presence. I may not have had words, but my time with God was still sweet. I knew He was with me in the darkness. A huge, huge help to me in my walk with Christ was learning to pray the Scriptures in times of depression. Praying the very Words of God gave me the words I needed, especially the Psalms.

5. You don’t want to go anywhere or do anything. Some days it isn’t a matter of “want to,” it literally feels impossible. I would dread appointments and even cancel them. Getting myself and the kids out the door literally felt like an impossible feat. My head would be clouded, I would look around and literally to get us all ready. It’s crippling, really.

6. You feel extremely lonely even if you are surrounded by wonderful friends. This is a hard one for many people. I have friends that love me and would ask how I was doing. Some days I could be more honest than others, but it took me awhile to get there. Probably a long while. It was a long time before I could even say “depression” out loud. I had to remind myself that I.was.not.alone. But those reminders didn’t feel real to me. I was overly sensitive and borderline paranoid that people didn’t want to be around me. So, I would withdraw even more. One of the things that happens to me when I’m at my lowest is the racing thoughts of anxiety. Just walking into a room of people would feel overwhelming to me. I just *knew* no one wanted me there. I was highly irrational. Those irrational, racing thoughts were a big part of my struggle because they led me further down the spiral. I want to note here that I think a lot of the anxiety and racing thoughts is hormonal for me!

7. You have no hope that tomorrow will be better. Hope was a thing of the past at my lowest times. I truly thought life would never, ever get better. I thought I was destined to suffer forever. And, friends, I don’t think that God’s heart is for us to be happy. I believe He brings suffering into our lives to make us more like Him. There is purpose in the suffering. But, dear ones, the thing is, at my lowest, I could not see that…I did not have the hope of Christ that there was a  purpose, that He was still at work in my life. Without that hope, the dark times seem so very hopeless. But, with Christ and just the realization that He was still at work, He was with me in the dark, that gives PEACE and HOPE back.  Jesus is the hope — the hope is not that we will feel better tomorrow, unfortunately. That is a tough lesson. But holding on to that hope did bring peace.

Friends, don’t read this list and get even more overwhelmed. As I shared in my depression story, admitting you are struggling is a HUGE step. Say it out loud to someone. Allow others to help and bless you. Talk to your doctor. Don’t walk this path alone!  Even when the enemy makes you feel alone, speak the truth aloud to yourself, here are 10 Truths to Speak Aloud When You Feel Despair. And here are all of my posts on depression

Depression may look different for you. Please share in the comments symptoms you have found to be true in your own struggle that I may not have listed here!


3 Years Off of Anti-Depressants

I would love for you to read an update now that I have been off all of my anti-depressants for 3 years and am thriving. God has been so good to me. My mindset has changed. My health has changed. We are never truly hopeless if we have Christ. We have the power of the Holy Spirit living within us giving us the power to make the steps necessary to BE TRANSFORMED.

My Journey Off of Anti-Depressants

My wellness journey & 51 pound weight loss! 

Author: Candace Crabtree

I'm Candace and I'm grateful you're here. It is my heart's desire to encourage you while you're visiting and remind your heart of the truths of God's Word and the power of His love to transform lives. Great is His faithfulness! {Note: this blog does use affiliate links.}

24 thoughts on “How to Know if it’s Depression”

  1. Being “tired” was definitely one for me when I was down/depressed, etc. I didn’t need sleep necessarily, but I just had no energy. And as you said, lack of motivation. Thank you for sharing your story and experience. XO

    1. yeah you say you tired but the only thing that’s tired is your heart and your mind on having those feeling and thoughts on your mind you don’t matter.

  2. Thank you for sharing, Candace! 6 out of 7 for me right now. I have been sinking for a few months… just overwhelmed with so many things going on. The immense feeling of being tired, no energy, and no motivation is crippling at times. I have some precious friends praying with me right now and truly feel a sense of hope that things are changing. Thanks again for always being transparent with your own struggles. It does help to know I’m not alone.

  3. I can relate to almost all of these, speaking as the depressed person I have been for the past 2 or 3 years. However, although this may be accurate, many people who don’t have depression have these moments in their lives. Some of these symptoms are common things, and someone who might feel sad might see this and jump to conclusions. If I were to add on to this, I would say that it’s like this, even on /good/ days. And it’s not fun. One second you’ll be smiling genuinely, and then one thought pops up, and then you try to keep that smile because you’re with others. And then you start to stay low in the circle of people, making yourself feel excluded. And it seems like no one notices the now grimace on your face and that you’ve stopped talking, because they’re telling jokes and funny things and laughing about everything and being all happy while you’re not. And it hurts because you want someone to notice, but you’re also scared because you don’t want anyone to notice and call you out on it in front of everyone.

    It’s when these problems become constant, everyday things and start to take over your life. And you have no control over it until you can get someone to help you. But oh dear, the anxiety kicks in and it’s too hard to tell anyone.

    That’s what depression truly is, coming from someone currently in depression. Sorry this was so long, I basically ranted the entire time. But, I just felt like this needed to be said. Thanks for reading this if you did. xX

    1. I really don’t know if i am depressed right now or just plainly goong through growing up and maturity. But in my case, i can’t feel anything. You know those feelings i have on certain things before, i can’t feel them anymore. And i feel that the world has no point. There’s no point in studying or reaching dreams because in the end it’ll just pass by, i mean for me i don’t feel the sense in living anymore. But in some ways i don’t particularly have these kinds of symptoms. I mean i still look cheery and the same with other people. It’s all just inside of my head. I don’t want to let them out because no one really cares anyway, no drama included, it’s really the case. And… i don’t know what to do anymore. Am i just growing up or depressed? Please help i don’t know what to do anymore.

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  6. I’m only a teen but i have quite a few of these symptoms but I’m not sure if it’s growing up or depression

  7. I too ws facing de same …..A lot of depression …..I couldn’t thought properly just a feeling of memory loss n lonliness ….Thank God I met a caring person who understands me

  8. Thanks for this post. I have been working with my doctor with increased amt of an antidepressant but it just doesn’t seem to be working. Will continue follow up with doctor but really appreciated your posts and honesty. Especially about motivation. I slept most of yesterday and the time off from work that I used to look forward to visiting with family, I can’t move. I can’t feel! Again, thanks for sharing. Your prayers would be appreciated.

  9. I have some of this symptoms, but I basically feel like im PMSing all the time with the feelings and everything. I feel like everything is wrong and falling apart when it’s really not. Should I get help?
    Please answer 🙁

    1. Martina — I think talking with someone would be a great start! A counselor? Your doctor? Discuss together what your options can be. Make sure you are doing all you can do to remain healthy – your diet, your exercise, sleep, etc. I’m saying a prayer for you today!!

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  12. I am only 15 but this sinking feeling in my stomach tells me that this is not a phase. I started to feel unmotivated and introvereted aroung the middle of this school year. I slowly stopped talking to my friends and my grades were dropping. The only thing I wanted to do was sleep becuase it was my escape. I denied having depression up till recently. I don’t have a social life and all I do is eat sleep and watch tv. I feel like I am disconnected from everything, even my family. When I hear them laughing together, I envy them. I can’t feel any emotions anymore. All I want is to feel happy and laugh again. But I know this will not happen becuase I have no motivation to do anything about this. Also the weird thing is, I don’t get excited over boys anymore. I was defiently one of those girls who fell in love with every boy she saw, but now I don’t care about my appearence or if boys like me. Evertime I try do acomplish something, I always give up. I wanted to start running again like I use to becuase I gained weight, but I gave up after the third day. I don’t know how to get out of this slump.

  13. I’m a mother of 2 and I’ve been going through these for the past 5yrs. I know it’s been so long..but believe me I wanted to be just happy. I don’t know what triggered this, maybe a lot of things with my marriage and motherhood. I pray that one day everything will better. Somehow, I still get my hopes up. In time..

  14. Feeling tired is a big thing for me and sleeping a lot I feel is kind of away for me to feel nothing and I guess die. I always feel alone like there’s no one who cares about me. I always think to myself what if I killed myself what would be do, how many of my friends would actually care that I’m gone. I think about it a lot but I always think about what my family would say or think and I know they would care. And I’m only 13 years old.

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