Lesser Known Signs of Depression: Can You Feel the Music?

Here is a list of some other "symptoms" of depression that you won't see in a diagnostic manual, but that may resonate more with you.
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Many times, I work with clients who tell me that they aren't depressed, and therefore
or in any other way augment our work together, or even come into my office often enough to give me a true shot to help. There are so many reasons that it is helpful to know that you're depressed, including:
  • If you know you're depressed, you realize you may be seeing things as more negative than they are
  • If you know you're depressed, you realize the "problem" may not be your job, husband, kids, friends, etc, but that you are depressed and see everything as a problem
  • If you know you're depressed, you may seriously reorganize your life, prioritize exercise, health, personal time, and so forth
But many people can look at the criteria for
and not know if their symptoms exactly qualify. So here is a list of some other "symptoms" of depression that you won't see in a diagnostic manual, but that may resonate more with you.
  1. Music affects you differently. You can't listen to sad songs anymore because they make you cry, or you can't listen to upbeat music because you find it boring. Or else you have no desire to listen to music at all, even though you used to love it.
  2. You're not as generous anymore. You used to care about people's troubles more, or you used to donate to charity. Now you find yourself unmoved by the whole idea of charity or giving your precious spare time to listen to or to help your friends and family. You're looking out for number one.
  3. You don't feel refreshed after sleeping. You can sleep 12 hours and you still don't wake up with a bounce in your step. Or you can have a luxurious afternoon nap, and instead of it feeling luxurious, you feel like you were hit by a truck when you wake up.
  4. You don't find things as funny. You can't remember the last time you laughed till tears came, or couldn't restrain yourself from laughing. If you watch a movie you used to find hilarious, you think it's kind of stupid and you don't remember why you even liked it so much.
  5. You are irritable. This, along with anger, is actually a diagnostic criterion for depression, but it's usually not one most people are aware of. If everything your spouse does annoys you, and work seems to be filled with idiots, and your kids seem spoiled and ungrateful much of the time, this may be a red flag.
  6. Your relationship changes with food. For many, food loses its appeal, and nothing tastes that awesome. For others, food becomes the only bright spot in their day, and it is something to fantasize about. Usually people with the latter extreme are suffering from atypical depression.
  7. Your body hurts. Your back, joints, neck, or head hurts all the time, or your stomach is always unsettled. You constantly feel, or state aloud, that you don't feel well. You're almost relieved when you actually have a cold or even the flu, because finally there seems to be an actual reason that you always feel kind of sick.
  8. Your creativity tanks. Some people are creative with crafts, others with cooking, others with cracking jokes, others with planning surprise day trips for their family. Whatever your typical outlet is, it feels like your creative juices have dried up, and you can't understand how you used to be filled with inspiration.
  9. You don't feel romantic. Many people with lower sex drives, like women with small kids, are used to feeling less easily aroused than they used to be. But this is different. Now, you don't understand the need or reason for romance either, when you used to love it. Your husband finally brings home flowers and you don't care. Or your wife looks objectively nice and you can't bring yourself to care or comment.
  10. Your kids aren't cute anymore. Well, they are objectively, you guess, but they don't strike that same chord in your heart. Or you may be a new mom and your baby strikes no chord in your heart, besides annoyance or anxiety. If your kids don't tug at your heartstrings, this is a sign something is wrong, and it's usually not your deep fear that you're actually just a cold person and parent.
  11. You give up on aspects of your life and your identity that used to be important to you. Maybe you were always into fitness, but now you think spending your limited time exercising is dumb. Or you used to entertain, and now it seems like too much work to clean and shop to host people you wouldn't even really want to talk to.
If a few of these resonate with you, it is a good next step to consider whether depression may explain some of your recent (or years-long) change in desires, motivations, and personality. A skilled therapist or psychiatrist can evaluate you for depression and help you start getting the help that you need. Till we meet again, I remain, The Blogapist Who Says, Everyone Deserves To Feel The Music.

This post was originally published here on Dr. Psych Mom. Follow Dr. Rodman on Dr. Psych Mom, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Order her book, How to Talk to Your Kids about Your Divorce: Healthy, Effective Communication Techniques for Your Changing Family. This blog is not intended as diagnosis, assessment, or treatment, and should not replace consultation with your medical provider.


If you -- or someone you know -- need help, please call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. If you are outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of international resources.