7 Embarrassing Depression Symptoms

When you have depression, life feels like a constant struggle. In addition to dealing with internal feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, worthlessness, and emptiness, you may experience some “embarrassing” symptoms of depression.

Maybe you haven’t showered in days. Maybe you’re late to work every day because you can’t motivate yourself to get out of bed. Maybe you’re more forgetful. These are some of the outward signs of depression that the people around you tend to notice.

The problem is most of those people are unaware that these issues are associated with your underlying mental health condition. As a result, you may end up being labeled in unkind ways.

At Amen Clinics, patients with major depressive disorder often open up about their most “embarrassing” symptoms, behaviors, and traits. If you’ve experienced some of these same issues, it’s helpful to know that you aren’t alone.

To help break the stigma and shame that comes with depression and other mental disorders, it’s important to be open about these cringe-inducing symptoms.

In addition to dealing with internal feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, worthlessness, and emptiness, you may experience some “embarrassing” symptoms of depression. Click To Tweet


Based on tens of thousands of patients at Amen Clinics, here are 7 of the most common bad habits and unwanted behaviors depressed people say they experience.

  1. Not bathing.

If you’re like many of the depressed patients at Amen Clinics, you may not be able to muster the energy to bathe on a daily basis. You might prefer to stay in your pajamas all day—especially if you’re working from home. You may also skip washing your hair or shaving, which can make you look unkempt.

When Shelly, a 47-year-old attorney, visited Amen Clinics, she said, “I can go for days on end without even thinking about taking a shower. But then when I have to meet a client at the office, I realize how unprofessional I look, and I get embarrassed about my body odor.”

  1. Gaining weight.

For some people, weight gain is the most mortifying side effect of depression. Among women, increased body mass index (BMI) is actually linked to a rise in suicidal thoughts, according to research in the American Journal of Public Health.

Statistics from the CDC show that 43% of people with depression are obese, and adults who are depressed are at increased risk for obesity. What’s the connection?

For 23-year-old Terra, eating was a way to try to fill the emptiness she felt inside, but it backfired. “All this extra weight makes me feel awful about myself. I don’t want to see any of my friends or family because I’m ashamed of the way I look, and I’m worried about what they might say to me,” she said.

Treating clinical depression with antidepressants can make things worse as antidepressant medications list weight gain as a possible side effect. Being able to maintain a healthy weight is another reason why it is so important to look for natural ways to promote healthy moods.

  1. Brain fog.

Do you find yourself forgetting what your spouse said to you 5 minutes ago? Do you have trouble following conversations? Do you feel mentally confused? Brain fog is a frustrating complaint among people with affective disorders.

For Amen Clinics patient Jill, 43, brain fog was the most embarrassing aspect of depression. “Everything seems all mixed up in my head, and I can’t remember anything,” she said. “I feel stupid and don’t want to open my mouth for fear of saying something wrong.”

  1. Sexual dysfunction.

Men and women both complain that depression causes a host of sexual problems. Even worse, commonly prescribed antidepressants can sabotage your sex life. You may have low or no sex drive, and it may take longer to achieve an orgasm if you are able to climax at all.

Depression is also associated with erectile dysfunction, which can be a major source of embarrassment for men. “Having problems in the bedroom makes me feel so inadequate,” said 42-year-old Robbie, who sought help for his anxiety and depressive symptoms. “It’s so humiliating.”

  1. Appearing flaky.

With depressed moods, it’s common to isolate yourself from other people. When asked if you want to join family or friends for an event, you may say “yes” and genuinely mean it. But when the time comes to get ready and head out the door, a sense of dread may descend over you, and you cancel your plans.

“Bailing on plans at the last minute makes me seem flaky and unreliable,” said 50-year-old Blaine, a pilot who had always prided himself on being punctual and dependable. “I hate this version of myself.”

  1. Being a bad employee.

Do you zone out on Zoom meetings? Are you always showing up late to work because you overslept or didn’t have the energy to get out of bed in the morning? Do you get irritated with your coworkers? Depression can wreak havoc with your ability to be productive and creative in your work.

Jason, 25, sought treatment at Amen Clinics for clinical depression that had started when he was in college. He said, “I should have been excited about getting my first promotion at work after graduating from college. But my depression made it really hard for me to concentrate so I would miss my deadlines.”

In addition, Jason said, “I felt so exhausted all the time that I would arrive late, then I started skipping work altogether. Eventually, I got demoted, which was so embarrassing.”

  1. Snapping at my kids.

Irritability and anger are some of the most unrecognized depression symptoms of depression. However, research shows that about one-third of depressed people also experience moments of rage. Many Amen Clinics patients with mood disorders admit that they are quick to lose their temper and tend to yell, throw things, or slam the door.

Anton, a 38-year-old computer programmer with two toddlers under the age of 5, didn’t realize that his depressive disorder was tied to his anger. “I get so irritated at the kids and I snap at them in front of other people,” he said. “Then I instantly regret it and feel so ashamed, like I’m a bad parent.”


As these patients learned, you don’t have to continue suffering from embarrassing signs of depression. Understanding that your unwanted behaviors are, in fact, related to depression is one of the first steps to healing.

In addition, the brain SPECT imaging work at Amen Clinics shows that depression is a brain-based disorder. It isn’t a character flaw, and it isn’t your fault.

One of the biggest lessons from over 225,000 SPECT scans in the Amen Clinics database is the fact that depression is not just one thing. In fact, there are 7 types of depression. Knowing your depression type is one of the keys to getting the most effective treatment.

Discovering this helped each of the Amen Clinics patients mentioned in this blog to overcome feelings of shame associated with their habits. That’s why it’s so important to seek help from mental health professionals who utilize brain imaging as a tool to help diagnose and treat mental health conditions.

Targeted treatment for depression that involves natural solutions whenever possible can be the key to overcoming those embarrassing behaviors and feeling good about yourself again.

Depression, brain fog, aggression, and other mental health issues can’t wait. At Amen Clinics, we’re here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, clinical evaluations, and therapy for adults, teens, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.


  1. It’s possible to function like this for years until becomes your norm . How do you get out of it.

    Comment by Leslie — April 23, 2021 @ 3:09 AM

  2. While these symptoms are certainly not ideal, I do wish you would have considered alternate wording. “Embarrassing” is rather condescending to those of us who have personally experienced one or more of these difficult symptoms. In the future I hope you’ll opt for a more compassionate word choice instead of one that may make people who are having a difficult time feel worse about themselves.

    Comment by Lindsey — April 23, 2021 @ 3:32 AM

  3. On Medicare with an add on. Can’t afford much mental health help. Make less than 2000 a month

    Comment by Gina Volk — April 23, 2021 @ 3:49 AM

  4. I just read the article on signs of depression, and I can see all of those embarrassing traits in my daughter. She is 27 years old with a serious mental disorder and she is depressed all the time. I think one of the ones that stands out for me is brain fog. I get totally frustrated with her because I think at times she’s not listening, she can’t follow through with anything, cannot follow a conversation, does not tidy up her room, is very abusive at times, it is so depressing for me to see her like that, and I never know what to say or do to help her.

    Comment by Pat — April 23, 2021 @ 3:57 AM

  5. Does your clinic accept Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance

    Comment by MeLinda A Webb-Wiseman — April 23, 2021 @ 5:34 AM

  6. I have most of these symptoms

    Comment by Jannise Childs — April 23, 2021 @ 6:47 AM

  7. Yes so much yes.

    Comment by Shelli King — April 23, 2021 @ 6:56 AM

  8. Do your evaluations/diagnosises have any weight in substantiating elements of a disabled veteran’s claim of i employability?

    Comment by charles warlick — April 23, 2021 @ 7:29 AM

  9. This article is spot on thank you. I suffer from depression quite bad. I’ll share this with my husband .

    Comment by Renee — April 23, 2021 @ 7:51 AM

  10. I so wish you were near Evanston, Wyoming.

    Comment by Laura Likes — April 23, 2021 @ 8:28 AM

  11. Hi Pat, thanks for reaching out. Amen Clinics currently has 9 locations: https://amenclinics.com/locations/. If you’re unable to travel to one of our locations, our Care Coordinators may be able to assist you with resources or referrals closer to you. For more information, please contact our Care Coordinators: https://amenclinics.com/schedule-visit/.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — April 23, 2021 @ 2:45 PM

  12. Hello Jannise, Amen Clinics currently has 9 locations: https://amenclinics.com/locations/. If you’re unable to travel to one of our locations, our Care Coordinators may be able to assist you with resources or referrals closer to you. For more information, please contact our Care Coordinators: https://amenclinics.com/schedule-visit/.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — April 23, 2021 @ 2:46 PM

  13. Hello Linda, Amen Clinics is an out-of-network provider and we do not bill insurance. We do provide a superbill containing applicable diagnosis and billing codes, which can be submitted to insurance companies for possible reimbursement. Our doctors and therapists are not affiliated with any insurance plans or networks. Please check with your insurance provider for any mental health benefits. For additional information regarding your pricing, insurance, and financing options, please contact our Care Coordinators: https://amenclinics.com/schedule-visit/.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — April 23, 2021 @ 2:47 PM

  14. Hi Gina, Amen Clinics offers consultations and different types of evaluations based on the needs of the patient. For information regarding pricing, insurance, and financing options, please contact our Care Coordinators: https://amenclinics.com/schedule-visit/.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — April 23, 2021 @ 2:50 PM

  15. Hi Leslie, thanks for reaching out. Amen Clinics currently has 9 locations: https://amenclinics.com/locations/. For more information about scheduling, please contact our Care Coordinators: https://amenclinics.com/schedule-visit/.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — April 23, 2021 @ 2:54 PM

  16. 1. Dr. Amen, I am a big fan of yours, but when you do a blog (or whatever you want to call it) like this I wish you would include some pictures of your SPECT brain studies, showing the healthy vs. depressed brains. That would show you have something to offer people rather than the normal platitudes put onto the internet by other “experts.”
    2. Since currently you have only about 7 clinics which are all in major cities on the edges of the nation (E & W coasts, Chicago N, Dallas S, that you would provide a listing of other physicians across the country with whom you have worked successfully (with their permission, of course) so those of us in less-populated areas not near to the “big cities” could get access.
    3. Didn’t you just run some kind of a $1000 + course for physicians (I am not a physician and not in a clinic, so did not qualify). If you have given those physicians appropriate training, how about providing the public a listing of them as well (with their permission, of course).
    4. What is the % of success you can claim using your SPECT methods with depression (or whichever brain health problem you are dealing with in a given blog)? I recall a few years ago, there was a survey in the profession of psychology on how successful respective psychologists had been with their patients. The psychologists would not cooperate with the study! I may have misread their results, but it appeared they didn’t want to be “found out.” Maybe you are only effective with 50% of patients – then challenge the rest of the field of psychiatry to show their comparative success stories.
    As I said, Dr. Amen, I am a fan! I wish you and your patients well. James W. “Jim” Lohr, Ph. D.

    Comment by James W. "Jim" Lohr — April 23, 2021 @ 5:47 PM

  17. After reading this info on depression
    I m depressed inwardly &outwardly 😩 have most of symptoms
    I So need help!! I’ve had a lot traumas !! Dad murdered 10, sexual child abuses etc etc etc etc …PTSD ADHD- very lonely & isolating also! I’m senior renting& living on social security. $$ ?? Help me please
    Senior Damsel In Distress , sharon

    Comment by SHARON — April 23, 2021 @ 7:11 PM

  18. Some of the most important aspects of life require someone else’s co-operation. If you have a job, somebody else CHOSE to hire you. If you have a partner somebody else CHOOSES to be with you. Most people who are unemployed or under-employed have some kind of support from spouse, extended family, etc. Many others who are single have busy, hotshot careers to keep them occupied. If you go through your entire adult life as no one’s spouse, no one’s parent, no one’s employee, then what kind of identity do you have? Its one thing to behave like a complete fool and then complain when it catches up to you. Its something else entirely when you’ve done everything right, follow all the “rules”, do everything you’re suppose to do, keep your act clean, keep your conscience clear and end up with ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO SHOW FOR IT.

    Comment by AJ Lewis — April 24, 2021 @ 4:56 AM

  19. I am leaving behind my identity with depression.
    However, brain fog is causing me some challenges. Particularly in the area of getting money to pay my bills. Takes a lot more energy to concentrate and grasp new concept and learn effectively. Which affects my confidence to stick and follow through.
    My productivity and creativity is where I have major pain. I want to work, take action, but it seems my mind won’t follow through.
    What immediate actions can I adopt to assuage these dilemma.
    And pls how can I get Omega 3 plus in Nigeria. Desperately don’t want to go back to taking antidepressants. Not good for my brain

    Comment by Okon — April 24, 2021 @ 5:10 AM

  20. For my particular case, which will be the most appropriate supplement you would recommend?
    Not able to earn income is reinforcing feeling of hopelessness and frustration.


    Comment by Okon Medekong — April 24, 2021 @ 5:17 AM

  21. This article gives me a bit of relief…not because all 7 apply to me and have in different intensities and at different stages for my whole life… but because they’re all here in one neatly packaged article that helps me to know I’m not crazy and also gives a reason for all the inconsistency in my behavior. To others around me I’ve always been happy and always up for something new and adventurous or interesting… but to those that know me intimately, employers and my family I am a different person … which is hugely humiliating, sad and even more depressing. I want to be the person everyone loves and is attracted to. The depression is halting at this point… I’m afraid to look for another job, to be remembered as a bad parent, to appear to not care or to be left behind. I’ve heard over and over,”You’re not the same person [that I hired][that I married][that helped me with my homework yesterday][that I fell in love with][that I thought you were]….”.
    I’ve been through many talk therapists, I’ve taken depression medications for over 7 years… I’m still in a rut. But at least here I can point to one disorder and say this is the root cause of it all.

    Comment by Amanda — April 24, 2021 @ 6:33 AM

  22. So I recognize the symptoms, how can help myself move out of depression?

    Comment by Louise — April 24, 2021 @ 6:50 AM

  23. I can really relate to this article, having lived with major depression for over 30 yrs (my entire adult life!). I have found myself struggling with all of those points mentioned and could add to the list (e.g. messy home, late payment of bills). The point about being perceived as “a bad employee” has been particularly painful for me. I have a problem with arriving on time for work to the point where I’ve been reprimanded and humiliated for it. Disclosing my problem with depression is not a viable option — there is a lack of compassion and understanding in my workplace for that (and sadly, I work for a community-based health agency). On a positive note, I have gradually become kinder to myself — treating myself in a way that I have stopped expecting and/or hoping of others. It has been an enormously empowering step for me. I’m still struggling with the same issues, embarrassing and otherwise, but I don’t beat myself up for it anymore.

    Comment by Laura L. — April 24, 2021 @ 8:57 AM

  24. So here’s another embarrassing symptom of depression — low income. Dr Amen, you and your clinics do not take insurance. How in the world do you think people with mental illness can afford your services? How can we make mental healthcare affordable?

    Comment by Debi Hansen — April 24, 2021 @ 9:45 AM

  25. My husbands been fighting stage 4 prostate cancer going into ninth year . The chemo treatment has left him very weak . He’s extremely grouchy . Then Covid -19 has kept us isolated – no family gatherings, not even Xmas – my 85th birthday – living like this is depressing . I’m a “people person”. I’m the most overweight I’ve been in my life . I keep busy to maintain sanity .

    Comment by Mary B. LYNCH — April 24, 2021 @ 2:34 PM

  26. This is exactly what’s wrong with mental health system. It is only for the rich. Most people cannot pay thousand of dollars out of pocket and can get no help. I am on Medicare and an expensive supplement but still that is not enough money for you. It’s a sad sad situations. I think you should be ashamed pretending you are “ there” for the people suffers. You are what’s wrong not what’s right.

    Comment by Karen sedgley — April 25, 2021 @ 8:47 AM

  27. i see a therapist but in reading this i see myself in most of it

    Comment by Sherry Lynn Austad Rand — April 26, 2021 @ 10:13 AM

  28. Hello Sharon, thanks for reaching out. We’d be happy to reach out to you directly with more information regarding scheduling an appointment at one of our clinics and pricing options. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — April 26, 2021 @ 11:13 AM

  29. I’m glad I read about some symptoms. May apply to me. Either it’s depression or I’m getting dementia. The one on bailing on family plans happrened to me this weekend & now guilt because I can’t explain it. Trying to eat right & get exercise but can’t focus or remember what ai read. Thanks for information.

    Comment by sue — April 26, 2021 @ 2:15 PM

  30. Bathing daily is actually not good for your skin and hair. It dries out your skin. Some dermatologists recommend taking a shower only 2-3x a week. Of course if you are visibly dirty or smelly thats different. Water unless it has gone through a good filter system contains many toxic chemicals like chlorine – when the water is hot, chlorine turns into gas and therefore you are also breathing it in. If you have fluoride in your water thats another toxic chemical.

    Comment by Dianna DeRosa — April 26, 2021 @ 6:50 PM

  31. I, definitely, have the brain fog. My concentration ability is, pretty much, shot. Too, while my long-term memory, still, is fairly decent, my short-term memory is down, to several minutes. I’ve difficulty, recalling things people have discussed with me, in the previous hour; betimes,
    half an hour. It’s immensely frustrating, for both parties.

    Comment by Don — May 3, 2021 @ 4:16 PM

  32. My husband is seriously depressed (sadness, insecurities, issues dealing with his childhood,,) there is more. He has not touched me in a year and a half however I found out he has cheated on me. He feels bad about how he has treated me. He does not want to face or talk to me. I said I would forgive him and I want to find him help. He is pushing me away. He text me stating he is ashamed but he wants to help himself and he feels we should divorce because he is not worth it. He states I should be with people who will treat me with respect. He is not willing to seek professional help. When I say I want to help, he gets angry stating it’s him not me. He is living in our basement refusing to speak or see me. He rather I leave. I don’t want to leave him alone

    Comment by Nancy — May 6, 2021 @ 1:20 PM

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