You’ve spent the last couple of weeks in hiding; you’ve become a recluse. You spent your days sleeping, eating junk, and binge-watching the entire series of Friends (or maybe Seinfeld if you are one of ‘those’ people). You’ve finally started to climb out of the darkness, though things are finally seeming more stable. You are finally starting to get out of this most recent depressive episode.
Now that you’re working your way back out of the hole, slowly reaching towards the surface, you’re starting to do these 10 things, all signs that you know but others might not even notice.
1. Your sleep patterns are different than normal.
You hit a wall about two weeks ago, and started spending lots of extra time in the bed. Even now that you are starting to feel “better,” it still takes a while to synchronize. You may become overwhelmed during the day and take a nap, but that leaves you feeling energized and staying up late.
2. You’ve suddenly become very sentimental.
You suddenly find yourself reaching out to your friends, craving their attention after isolating yourself for a few weeks. It might be something as simple as texting them every day just to “check in,” or sending them a lengthy letter and random care package “just because.” You might even be overly physically affectionate, giving even more hugs and asking for cuddles at random times.
3. You find yourself getting easily overwhelmed or emotional.
You might not have completely stabilized yet, so your moods are still in a state of flux. Things may make you cry more than normal, or you may suddenly “need a moment” if you start to feel angry or anxious. You seem thrown off by sudden noises, an overload of information to process takes longer than usual, and making a simple mistake starts you down the spiral.
4. Your appetite is all over the place.
One day you may eat everything in sight, then you spend the next two days living off almost nothing. You get excited at the look of a meal, take a bite and decide you can’t finish. That’s kind of how the world is for several days when you come out of a very low phase: colors are still dulled, smells are less intense, everything seems to be turned down several notches more than normal.
5. You start spamming social media with motivational shit.
You are usually a very open person. When you get low, it shows on your social media posts. As you try to get back to a place of normalcy, you look to any small reminders that you think will keep moving you upward. Everyone sees it as your usual way of taking care of those around you; nobody realizes that all the motivational posts are really just for you.
6. You avoid being alone.
Being alone tends to always be dangerous for you, especially as you recover from a depressive episode. You avoid telling people why, but you make a very conscious effort to either have people physically near you or reach out electronically when you know you’ll be physically alone. People are important to have nearby as you work hard to improve.
7. You listen to music constantly.
One of the best ways to regulate and try to control emotions is through music. You were told to use music to help you stay mindful, to stay energized, to stay active.
8. You buy something new, even if you don’t really need it.
Retail therapy is real, and you take full advantage. Even just window shopping gets you out of the house, and a new outfit is just what you need to feel beautiful again.
9. You look for something to “get into.”
Your therapist said the best way to stay positive is to stay in the present and “out of your thoughts.” Picking up a new hobby, starting a new routine, or even just picking back up a craft you lost interest in while depressed can help.
10. You clean something.
You pride yourself on being organized, but that goes out the window as soon as you start to sink into a depression. Once you start to feel better, though, the messes you’ve let pile up enrage you and they must go.
Depression can hit anyone at any time, and the way that depression looks on everyone can be very different. This means that the behavioral “signs” of recovery can also vary greatly. Self-awareness is important, though, so if you suffer from depression, it might be good to think about the ways that depression and the climb back out will look on you. Knowing these small details can make a difference in your life and even help those around you begin to recognize what you need a little easier.
Previously Published on Thought Catalog