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Can You Be Depressed and Not Know?

Can You Be Depressed and Not Know?

It seems like an absurd question with an obvious answer. Depression is typically associated with feeling sad and how can you not know that you feel sad? In reality, depression is much more than feeling sad, although prolonged sadness is usually a symptom. Depression is insidious and typically has both cognitive, mental, and physical components. People with high functioning depression often get so used to muddling through, they don’t don’t really notice the enormous weight they’re dragging behind them. Here are some of the often overlooked symptoms of depression.


We typically imagine that depressed people sleep 12 hours a day. Excessive sleep is very common with depression, but so is insomnia. You might experience this as waking up at four every morning with a feeling of panic or dread and not being able to fall asleep again before the alarm. This is essentially a stress response gone haywire. Instead of waking you up gently in the morning, your adrenaline and cortisol surge like someone kicked in your bedroom door. Insomnia can make depression worse because you never feel like you get enough sleep.


While depression is typically characterized by persistent sadness, it very often feels like persistent numbness. Not happy, not sad, just nothing. To paraphrase Ron Weasley, you feel like you’ll never be cheerful again. But you don’t really care. This is often a problem for people in recovery who experience post-acute-withdrawal syndrome, or PAWS. It sometimes manifests as emotional swings, but it also frequently manifests and numbness and anhedonia, or inability to feel pleasure. The longer this numbness and anhedonia drags on, the harder it is to see the point. Some people start using again just to feel something.

Psychomotor retardation.

This is that heavy feeling, when you feel like you’re dragging a sack of rocks behind you everywhere. You feel fatigued and you move slowly, even if there’s no particular reason. This may be linked to inflammation. Recent research has found that depression may be linked to fighting infections. One of the things your body does when there’s an infection is make you tired all the time so you don’t run around wasting energy needed by your immune system. The only problem is, there’s no infection; your brain just acts like there is.

Persistent negative thoughts.

These can creep in without you noticing. One reason is that bad things do actually happen and it’s normal to feel negatively about them. If you’re not careful, those negative thoughts can spread so that you think negatively about pretty much everything, including yourself. Of course, you don’t recognize negative thinking for what it is. To you it just looks like thinking. You believe you’re making an objective assessment of reality and reality is terrible.

Depression commonly goes along with addiction, but people don’t always recognize it. It’s good to know all the symptoms so you can treat it and have a better chance at a strong recovery.

Located in downtown Midland, The Springboard Center’s mission is to offer programs and services to treat alcohol and drug addiction treatment using an evidence based curriculum, 12 step programs, diet, nutrition, exercise, emotional, mental and spiritual development for a long recovery. For more information, please call us at 432-620-0255 as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.