Signs of Clinical Depression

These signs of clinical depression are not the same as symptoms of clinical depression. This list of signs is based on my own experience and the experience of people I’ve observed.


I have been diagnosed as bipolar. In short that means that I frequently bounce back and forth between depression and euphoria. So I know a little bit about clinical depression.

One of the first signs in my experience is conflict. It usually starts at home. I get into more fights with my wife. I am grumpy. I snap at my children and even get mad at the cat. I am frustrated by the smallest things. I get upset if my favorite foods aren't in the pantry. I get mad if my kids leave toothpaste in the sink. I hate it when the sheets don’t fit exactly right on my bed.

Then conflict begins to spill over into my other relationships. I get frustrated with my coworkers. I get mad when things are piled on my desk. I can’t stand it when mistakes are made – by me or by others. I withdraw from relationships that I once enjoyed. When I do spend time with friends or coworkers, I’m internally on edge. Sometimes that comes out in my conversation. People start asking me what’s wrong. I reply with a sharp answer. After a while people quit asking because they are afraid of how I will respond.

The deeper I go into depression, the grumpier I get. It usually comes to a pinnacle when my wife begs me to get help.


When I’m cycling downward there are other signs of clinical depression. A second sign is restlessness. That is, I don’t want to be where I am. I want to get away from what I’m doing.

Nothing feels good anymore. I don’t enjoy life. I don’t want to watch TV, don’t want to play golf, don’t want to make love. I just want to escape.

Escape to where is a mystery. But I just want to be somewhere or do something that makes me feel better.

Sarcasm and Cynicism

One of the biggest signs of clinical depression for me is the increased use of sarcasm and cynical feelings.

I use sarcasm even when I feel good. It just fits my personality. But when I start using it to hurt or shame people, I know that something is wrong.

The same is true of cynicism. I’ve never been accused of being overly optimistic even when I feel good. But when I begin to feel like there is no hope, when I feel like I will never feel better, I know something is wrong. I might think or even say, will people ever change? Or, I might withdraw from relationships that I used to enjoy. I might begin to think poorly of the people I work with.

Cynicism and sarcasm are two signs of clinical depression.

Frustration and Anger

Another indicator of depression is increased levels of frustration. You get frustrated with coworkers, with your spouse, with your children. This is often accompanied by impatience. Can’t you get your act together, is a common feeling.

Frustration and impatience often erupt in anger. When the frustration builds to a point where you can’t control it, it usually presents itself as anger. This, then, is yet another of the indicators of depression.


These signs of clinical depression are not foolproof. You may just be having a bad day or week. But if you or someone you know notices them in you, you should pay attention. You might be on the road to depression.

How do you know if you are depressed? You see the symptoms of depression.

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