What to do when you are sad or depressed and don’t know why

Is it really possible to be depressed without knowing it? After all, depression is a serious clinical diagnosis. In fact, it is difficult to recognize signs of depression through common experiences such as sadness or sadness.

Depression can appear suddenly or gradually. It may be related to a certain situation (such as an adjustment disorder), or it may not have a “cause” at all. You may realize that you feel bad or not like your usual self, but you may not realize that your feelings are clinically significant depression.

Why you may not know you are depressed

There are several possible explanations for depression and not knowing. Due to denial or stigma, depression may not be in your area of ​​concern, or you may ignore your symptoms because you have been through it for a long time. You may even mistake the symptoms of depression for other causes.

Here are some reasons why you may not realize that you are depressed:

  • You have been depressed for a while. If you have been depressed for a long time, it just feels normal to you. This is especially true for people who have suffered from depression since childhood.
  • You don’t feel sad. Because you may not feel particularly sad, you may think it cannot be depression. In fact, the manifestation of depression is more than a deep sadness. You may feel tired, low energy, or lack any real happiness without having to feel sad or cry.
  • Your symptoms develop slowly. Depression can develop gradually over a long period of time. When mood changes are subtle and slow, you may not realize that things are different from the past.
  • You feel frustrated with yourself. If you feel that you have something bad or flawed, it is easy to treat your feelings as an innate part that cannot be repaired. You may feel that instead of fighting a treatable disease, you have broken down irretrievably and it is not worth feeling better.
  • You have an internalized attitude towards mental health. Cultural differences can also make it more difficult to recognize and acknowledge depression. If the people around you think depression is something you must endure without complaining, then you may feel that asking for help is a sign of weakness.

Some common causes of depression

Depressive symptoms

So how do you know if you are depressed? If you experience the following symptoms within at least two weeks, you may be experiencing depression:

  • Anger and irritability
  • Anxiety and excitement
  • Changes in appetite or weight (can be loss of appetite with weight loss or weight gain due to increased appetite)
  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Feelings of sadness or emptiness
  • Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, or excessive guilt
  • Lose interest in activities that you usually enjoy
  • Unexplained mysterious pain
  • Problems with thinking, memory, attention, and decision-making
  • Sleep problems such as insomnia or excessive sleep
  • Slowing down of thoughts, speech, or body movements
  • Thoughts of death and suicide

Get advice from the VigorTip Mind podcast

Hosted by LCSW’s editor-in-chief and therapist Amy Morin, this episode of The VigorTip Mind podcast shares how to face uncomfortable emotions, starring comedian Paul Gilmartin.

Follow now: Apple Podcasts / Spotify / Google Podcasts / RSS


If you suspect that you may be suffering from depression — or just not feeling right — it is wise to talk to your doctor about how you feel. Your doctor can screen for possible causes of your symptoms and provide you with the appropriate medical care you need.

Depression discussion guide

Get our printable guide to help you ask the right questions the next time you see a doctor.

As part of your doctor’s visit, you may have certain blood tests to rule out other causes of depression. Certain diseases such as hypothyroidism can produce symptoms similar to depression.

Depression treatment

There are many different treatment options for depression. Your specific treatment plan will depend on your diagnosis and the severity of your symptoms.


Once other diseases are ruled out and the diagnosis of depression is confirmed, your doctor may prescribe antidepressants. There are several different types of antidepressants that can effectively treat depression, including the following (in order of frequency of prescription use):

SSRIs are by far the most commonly prescribed prescription, but SNRIs and atypical antidepressants are also frequently used. Due to their side effects, MOAI and TCA are less commonly used, but can still be used in some cases.


Your doctor may also refer you to a psychiatrist, psychotherapist, or other qualified mental health professional who specializes in treating mental health conditions. Talk therapy or a technique called cognitive behavioral therapy may help treat depression.

  • Individual therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), can provide you with a safe and supportive environment for you to explore the reasons behind depression and how to spend your grief.
  • Group therapy can help you see that other people are going through the same thing and help you reduce your feelings of loneliness, because it is normal to feel isolated or different when you are depressed.

Another option is to try to help depression online, which may include online depression treatment, self-directed programs, or support groups.

No matter which direction you take, remember that there is no stigma in getting help for depression.This is a serious and Treatable conditions-and you don’t have to treat them alone.