Image by Gino Crescoli from Pixabay

Sometimes the ones that smile most are the ones who are secretly hurting. It's human nature to want to hide your struggles from your loved ones, so you can appear strong. But there are ways that the sadness creeps through. Here are the warning signs of one who is silently struggling.

u/Chicksunny asked: What are signs that someone is secretly unhappy?

It's exhausting.

Not answering emails and texts is a warning sign for me. I start procrastinating about personal correspondence when I'm on my way into a bad depressive episode (and, well, sometimes even when I'm just at baseline, but baseline with clinical depression is pretty unhappy).


Classic symptoms.

  1. Not finding pleasure in activities they used to enjoy
  2. Persistent low mood
  3. Problems sleeping


I think a lot of the time people who are secretly unhappy do their best to make the people they care about laugh and feel happy. As they know what it's like to feel so down and unhappy with the world they don't wish for the people they care about to feel that way.


This is me.

Tired, if they aren't sleeping well often times something is keeping them up. Also tiredness is a commonly used excuse to answer "are you ok?"


Yeah. I've started saying "tired" because people stop prying then. It's socially acceptable. It's not as acceptable to say you feel like life is completely pointless.




They smile at you, because they want to be nice/friendly - but as soon as you look away, the smile falls off their face.

Because they kind of put it there, rather than it rising up naturally, once its job is done, they let it go.

Edit: since this blew up, I'm going to take the opportunity to say: THERAPY. Therapy can make a big difference, even for the most seemingly-intractable problems. If your life is unhappy, if you relate to the posts in this thread, I advise you to seek a therapist's help.



They don't put any effort into life.


Sometimes I get bursts of motivation to just get up and start improving my life, like right now! Finish college! Hit the gym! But then I think of all the effort I'd actually have to put in to do this, and think "Is it really worth it?" or "I don't actually enjoy working out or going to class. Will this really bring me more happiness?" and just kind of go back to sleep or switching between Reddit and Youtube.



General apathetic approach to life mostly.

Can be perfectly described as feeling: "Meh?"





Also relatable.


Even if this person looks very happy you can easily put them down, make them sad or cry. They become very upset when someone is even a little bit rude to them, they can be very loud and happy at one moment and quiet at another. It's my own experience, I don't know how it works with another people.


I think this is the best way for me to recognize my depression. I'm so much more sensitive to the smallest mistakes. I can sob because my shower isn't warming up. It just feels like the worst thing is everything.

EDIT: For future readers who can see this edit, a sudden inability to stay asleep most nights can also be a sign. It's something I experience as well.


I don't care.

They have nothing to talk about or don't give any opinions. It's a sign that nothing excites or interests them.


Ouch, yeah. Even "what do you want to eat?" is usually met with "I don't care," when I normally love food.


This is true.

It took me a very long time to realize that ANGER is one of my first responses to depression. I feel like we imagine those gray blobs from the commercials that are listless and distracted and sad but for me, unchecked depression expresses as ANGER. I can't believe the stupidity around me, I give no one the benefit of the doubt, I assume everything is a slight and preemptively expect slights. As you can imagine, it's utterly exhausting and TERRIBLE to be around.

Then I lost enough friends, realized I needed to change, got therapy out of my own choice for the first time (forced into it as a kid many times), changed my responses to things, got on medication, and now it takes a lot to get me angry. A lot.




Constantly saying "I'm just tired" or "I'm just bored" even when not tired or bored is usually a good sign.

Now, I have to go. I'm just tired and bored.


Sleeping a lot is common.

I went through what I think was a depression last year (a solid 4-6 months where I had pretty much no friends and I was unhappy with my schoolwork, etc). What stuck out to me is that normally I'm a pretty emotional person: when things go wrong I cry it out, and I feel better after. When I was going through this, I remember noticing that I didn't cry at all, even when I sort of wanted to. Something would go wrong and sometimes I'd feel angry, and sometimes I'd panic, but usually, I just wanted to go to sleep.

I also remember calling home a lot less often than normal and being frustrated that no one was around to be there with me but always choosing to be alone in my room with the door closed anyway. Life is much much better now, I've talked to counselors and I'm making more of an effort to be social (and I'm happier for it), but mostly I remember feeling like my emotions were muted and being surprised at how lonely that felt.


Good relationship advice.

Look for signs like:

A lack of interest. Not wanting to be seen with you i.e. go out and do things with you. A lack of romance previously had. A lack of effort and or sweet little things for no reason (especially if done previously). A lack of intimacy (not to be confused with sex). Change in mood and or behavior.

Relationships are work. The more you work at them, make a genuine effort and water your own lawn the greener the grass grows. Be unselfish, be sweet, be cheesy. It's worth the effort and even if it's with the wrong person it's good practice for the right one.

Good luck and I hope this helps someone.


Also very common.


Coming from someone that deals with depression and anxiety, my memory isn't as strong whenever I start feeling unhappy. That's usually one of the first signs that's a giveaway to any of my friends. As soon as I stop remembering the little things and eventually the bigger things, it's a dead giveaway.



Complaining about trivial, unimportant things in their everyday lives. And sometimes you don't even notice you're doing it until someone finally says,"Wow, it seems like you hate everything."

When I see a close friend of mine start to isolate themselves and care less about their appearance or personal hygiene, I worry.


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