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Identifying the Signs of Creeping Depression

Depression, Coping Skills, Therapist Guide
3 min read
woman with curly hair in blue sweater with somber facial expression

Severe depression is recognizable when one sees it or is experiencing it. However, mild or moderate depression, what I call creeping depression, is harder to recognize. As a therapist, I have often diagnosed someone with depression and received surprise or outright rejection. I hear “but I am not crying all the time” or “I still get to work and do everything I am supposed to do.” Yes, when you are in the midst of severe depression it is often difficult to get out of bed and you may often cry or feel completely hollowed out. Before we get there though, it is helpful to recognize the signs of depression creeping into your life so it does not have to get that bad. 


7 Questions to Ask Yourself if You Think You May Be Depressed

  1. Am I spending hours scrolling mindlessly on my phone or watching Netflix (or both at the same time) but cannot remember what I saw?
  2. Do I make reasonable sounding excuses to avoid doing things I used to enjoy like “I’m too busy with work or school or the kids.”?
  3. Is it hard to concentrate on reading or creating in a way that used to feel natural?
  4. Am I feeling tired even though I sleep enough?
  5. Am I snippy and irritable for reasons I cannot name?
  6. Is it hard to concentrate? 
  7. Is my environment (house, car, room) slowly getting messier and more uncomfortable?

These are all signs of a type of depression that sneaks up on you. Once you are aware you may realize that your life has felt numb or colorless for a very long time. There are a variety of ways to manage this: 

  • Seek therapy
  • Start taking a 10- to 15-minute walk outside in the morning (that morning time light does really help)
  • Get seen by your physician to make sure that there is not a medical reason 
  • Now that you are aware, start trying to get back into those enjoyable activities


If you recognize the signs of creeping depression, it is time to do something to stop it from permeating completely through your life. Though these are only a few hints and tips, there are many ways to manage depression once it has been identified. Making an appointment with a therapist is one of the best first steps you can take. 


About the Author: Yolanda Robinson has a doctorate in clinical social work and is licensed in Maryland and North Carolina to work with women and LGBTQ+ individuals and couples hoping to increase their contentment, regain their footing in life and increase positive communication. Yolanda helped found and has the pleasure to work with a talented team of therapists and advocates at Abide Inclusive, a not for profit increasing accessibility to quality therapy, psychoeducation, and higher levels of care for LGBTQ+ persons. Learn more about Yolanda or view more of her work on her Frame profile.