Actress Reveals What Depression Feels Like

burrito syndrome

Raven-Symoné gained a reputation as one of the greatest child stars of all time by appearing in the Cosby Show and Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper. As an adult, she continued to make audiences laugh with That’s So Raven and many other comedy series and movies. But in a revealing episode of Scan My Brain, she opens up to Dr. Daniel Amen about the depression, anxiety, and irritability in her life. There are times when she goes inside her brain and can’t say a word or express herself. She calls it “burritoing.”

What a great term for something that so many people with depressive disorder experience. It’s when you want to wrap yourself up and hide from the world. How can you tell if you’re struggling with “burrito syndrome?” Look for these signs.

“Burritoing”—what a great term from actress Raven-Symoné for something that so many people with depressive disorder experience. It’s when you want to wrap yourself up and hide from the world. Click To Tweet


1. You turn into a hermit.

When you sink into a low mood, do you retreat from your loved ones? When they try to offer support or ask you to talk about what you’re feeling, do you tend to shut them out? Isolating yourself and withdrawing from friends and family is one of the most common symptoms of mood disorders. Shutting yourself off in your home or in your bedroom if you live with others increases feelings of depression. The more alone you feel, the more depressed you are likely to feel.

2. You sleep too much (or too little).

Major depressive disorder often comes with sleep issues. You may find yourself sleeping more than usual—cocooning in bed and taking numerous naps throughout the day. Or you may have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, tossing and turning all night. In fact, an estimated 75% of depressed people suffer from insomnia, according to a study in Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience. Still, you may be seeking solace by wrapping yourself up in your blankets in bed to try to get the sleep you need.

3. You have no energy.

In addition to sleep issues, you may lack any “get-up-and-go” energy. Forget things like going out to dinner with friends, you may not be able to motivate yourself to go to the mailbox or to head to the kitchen to make meals. And that low energy level may contribute to why you have a hard time collecting your thoughts, talking to anyone, or expressing yourself.

4. You have aches and pains.

Depression can manifest with physical symptoms like back pain, joint pain, or headaches. In fact, 85% of people with chronic pain also suffer from severe depression, according to findings in a 2017 study in Neural Plasticity. Other research suggests the biological connection between these conditions may lie in the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine, both of which influence mood and pain. When you feel achy and uncomfortable, it doesn’t make you want to venture out of your “burrito.”

5. You snap at others.

When you’re all wrapped up in your own misery, it can lead to anger and irritability. A 2013 study in JAMA involving 536 depressed people found that 54.5% of them expressed overt anger and irritability. If loved ones try to coax you out of your isolation, you’re likely to lash out at them. This can lead to people avoiding you, which contributes to your social isolation.


1. Reconnect.

Take it slow. If you live with others, start by simply saying hi or good morning. If you live alone, send a text to someone you care about. It can be as simple as an emoji.

2. Develop a healthy sleep routine.

Getting the sleep you need is so important. Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day. Get into the habit of winding down in the evening by turning off your electronic devices a few hours before bedtime. Avoid alcohol and caffeine and practice relaxation activities, such as taking a warm bath, listening to soothing sounds, or reading (nothing stress-inducing though).

3. Get out of your pajamas.

To help regain your energy, get dressed every day. Even if it just means trading your PJs for sweatpants, making the effort to get out of your sleeping attire can change your frame of mind.

4. Get moving.

You may feel achy, but physical exercise is a proven pain reliever. Start small with just a few minutes a day of walking, yoga, or swimming. If you find it hard to motivate yourself, ask a friend to be your exercise buddy. Knowing someone else is counting on you can be encouraging.

5. Breathe.

If you’re feeling irritable and want to snap at someone, take a moment and breathe deeply. Inhale for 3-4 seconds, hold it for 1 second, then exhale for twice as long as your inhale. This can very quickly calm tension.

6. Seek treatment for depression.

Getting the treatment you need is the most important step you can take for your mental health. Be sure to look for a provider who understands that depression is not just one thing. The brain imaging work at Amen Clinics has shown there are 7 types of depression and anxiety and each type needs a targeted treatment plan.

Depression, anger issues, 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. Hi I don’t have no of this things thanks God, but I have people around my life that they do, I be learning a lot about it and What I do when a see someone getting the panic attack I tell them focus in something amazing in your life and at the same time I tell them breathe in and out and keep focus in something good or I keep talking to the person until the panic attack goes away little by little or if the person is with me I try to seat her or him and hold him or her and talk to the person by telling them breath in breath out I try it and is been working I remember see a young lady running from the train and I saw her and I stop and I did not left I told hee something nice she said I have a panic attack I told her I’m here with you you not along please look at me listen to my voice please breathe in breath out keep doing darling remember I’m here with you I wait until she said oh my goodness thank you miss for staying with me and I said of course I would it be at peace if I would it walk away I told her are you sure you are good now she said yes miss thank you so much my point thing like this we all have to give the hand when people need us and when they don’t we just stay there until we make sure the panic attack go away Gid bless you all

    Comment by aurea — October 13, 2021 @ 4:49 AM

  2. As someone who used to suffer from depression this is so true. I have shared this article with another friend who is suffering. The practical tips are well founded. While I feel my relief came from a Spiritual healing (Jesus) in these times of chaos in society it is tempting to retract into the “burrito” again, but alas I can’t return to this dark place. Once again, thank you for this article.

    Comment by Kara Harris — October 13, 2021 @ 6:59 AM

  3. DR Dan Amen: Your ideas are always welcome. Thank You very much my friend!

    Comment by David Mann — October 13, 2021 @ 8:20 AM

  4. Sounds like a lot of good information I think this should go viral

    Comment by Dee Pack — October 13, 2021 @ 9:34 AM

  5. This article describes me perfectly!

    Comment by Frankie Oldham — October 17, 2021 @ 1:37 PM

  6. I need help

    Comment by Michelle Hogue — October 20, 2021 @ 6:04 AM

  7. Hello Michelle, thank you for reaching out. For assistance regarding our services and SPECT scans, please contact our Care Coordinators:

    Comment by Amen Clinics — October 21, 2021 @ 7:30 PM

  8. Burrito syndrome sounds like old fashion depression. Why create mew syndromes, disorders, or illnesses. The world has enough already.
    Even the steps to help are the same as for depression.

    Comment by Cindy Sullivan — October 24, 2021 @ 3:25 PM

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