3 Overlooked Signs of Depression You Might Have Missed - Ayn Bernos

Here Are 3 Signs of Depression I Totally Missed

I'm pretty optimistic. How could I have been depressed?

Depression looks differently on different people, and it’s something I learned the hard way as someone who has always tried to be “the strong one.”

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Disclaimer: The following story is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your mental health professional.

I’m no stranger to taking care of my mental health, as it’s something that I’ve spent the last years nurturing through meditation practices, consistent exercise, a strong sense of community, and even professional help. A peek through my Youtube watch history would show a list of productivity vlogs, online yoga classes, and TED talks. Ask any of my friends and I’m confident a lot of them would say I’m a pretty upbeat, happy person. And even when life has gotten rough in the past, I’ve always been proactive about finding the silver lining through meticulous planning and a sprinkle of optimism.

So you can imagine my surprise when at the peak of my young career, armed with the stability of satisfactory adulthood, I found myself diagnosed with depression again. It came as a shock because my current situation is a far cry from my first diagnosis, when I was unemployed, broke, and stuck in lockdown limbo. Back then, I thought that all the uncertainty and the general state of the world justified my relentless sadness. Obviously, I told myself, it just made sense. But now? What right did I have to feel this way?

What Is Depression?

According to the American Psychiatric Association, depression is a “common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act… Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease your ability to function at work and at home.”

Contrary to what I used to believe, depression is not solely affected or caused by one’s experiences. Other than environmental factors, there are also biochemistry, genetics, and personality. So if you’re experiencing symptoms of depression, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. After all, we can’t treat what we don’t know.

That being said, here are some signs of depression I totally missed until my psychiatrist (and other people) pointed them out:

Excessive Sleep

For months, I had blamed my schedule and busy lifestyle for my excessive naps. I thought I was just working myself to the bone like most people my age. But after I had missed two consecutive appointments with my doctor, I realized this was more than the usual case of fatigue. Even my sister had noticed it. “You’ve been sleeping too much. It’s kinda alarming,” she mentioned one time, after I had woken up from another 5-hour nap, multiple days in a row. I remember how I would only wake up to have brunch and go straight back to sleep because I physically could not function.

When I realized what was becoming a really bad habit, I started deliberately finding activities to keep me going through the day. I started surrounding myself with people because I knew that being alone would lead me back to the -same cycle of late nights, late mornings, depressing afternoons, and seemingly endless days of emptiness.


As an extrovert, my self-isolation should have been another glaring sign for me, but because of my own denial, I had waved it off. For weeks at a time, I would stay alone at my condo, only going out for extremely important events and appointments. I refused to walk to the nearby restaurants or grocery stores for food, and instead had everything delivered to me. My family only lived 40 minutes away, but I would make excuses not to go home and visit on the weekends.

In hindsight, I realize now that I was avoiding my loved ones because I did not want to bother them with my disposition. Once, I even told a friend, “I feel like I have no use if I’m not my usual bubbly self.” Which, of course, I now know to be false. I’ve since started spending more days at our family home, and I’ve learned to depend on them once again for emotional support. It was surprisingly liberating.

Losing A Sense Of Purpose

I’ve lived my whole life as a goal-oriented person, and even at rock bottom, I knew there was always something to strive for. From breakups to failed business ventures, there was a fire in me that never really got put out even at the face of challenges. I would argue that these past instances have even propelled me forward. So what was different this time around?

When I looked at my life objectively, I knew that, in theory, I should be okay. Past evidence tell me that I’ve gone through worse, and therefore, I should be fine… right? But there is no negotiating with depression, I learned. Even when I could point out all the great things around me, a debilitating lack of purpose lingered. To paint you a picture, I would wake up long after the sun has risen and lay in bed for two more hours, fully convinced there was nothing in the world that needed me or my attention. None of my old goals that used to excite me feel the same, and even as a chronic planner, I could no longer tell anyone what I wanted my future to look like.

What To Do If You Feel This Way

If these signs feel familiar to you, please seek professional help. Sometimes, it really is the best way forward especially when our feelings of depression get overwhelming. You can start with this list of mental health services and centers.

Other than that, what truly helped me was seeking out emotional support from family and friends. I know that vulnerability can feel uncomfortable, especially for those of us who are so used to being the “happy friend” or the “strong one.” But whoever said that no man is an island was absolutely right, and allowing people to be there for us in times of need can be life-saving and life-changing.

Sleeping in, isolating, and giving up may feel like the most natural things in the world when you’re dealing with depression, but from one survivor to another, let me tell you that better days, when you keep going, are just around the corner.

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What Are Glimmers? The Concept That Can Help Us Find Hope In The Dark Days

On glimmers and living for the hope of it all.

[OPINION] The concept of glimmers help us find joy and hope in the everyday, but can we rely on them to truly change our lives?

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To put it simply, “glimmers” refer to the experience of small moments of joy and positivity in everyday life. As each experience puts us in a state of peace and happiness, when they accumulate over time, they move us towards hope and a sense of overall well-being.

@shaynateresetaylor I love the idea of focusing on these throughout your day 🤍 what glimmers have you noticed recently? #foryou #glimmer #glimmers #smallmoments #slowliving #slowlivinglifestyle #romanticizeyourlife #intentionalliving #mentalhealthmatters #mentalhealthawareness ♬ Bird Song – Nature Sounds and Music for Sleep and Relaxation

Glimmers “could be seeing a friendly face, hearing a soothing sound, or noticing something enjoyable in the environment,” clinician and social worker Deb Dana writes in her book Polyvagal Practices: Anchoring The Self in Safety. Glimmers could be laughing with your friends, feeling your pet cuddling up to you, watching a beautiful sunset, or belting out your favorite karaoke song.

Introduced by Dana, “glimmers” is a relatively newly-identified concept rooted in finding hope in the mundane. But why is it suddenly making the rounds on social media? And what do “finding our glimmers” really achieve?


@yourmillennialpsych Alam niyo ba ang opposite ng triggers? #LearnItOnTikTok #triggers #glimmers ♬ original sound – Riyan Portuguez, RPsy, RPm

The concept of glimmers has been spreading across social media, among the many concepts relating to health and well-being that make their way into the collective consciousness of the chronically online and even beyond—for better or for worse.

Dana writes that people pay more attention to negative events than positive ones, but being introduced to the concept of glimmers allows us to be aware of them and their possibilities, and in turn, we start to look for more. As stressors increase in our ever-so-chaotic world, it makes sense that we cling onto things that can make the days just that much brighter.


@realtalk.therapist Replying to @Mary Petrie have you heard of TRAUMA GLIMMERS? #traumatok #traumatiktok #couplestherapy #therapytok #healingtok #therapistsontiktok #traumatized ♬ CUFF IT – Beyoncé

The more we are made aware of the glimmers, the more we look for them, and the more they can, albeit slightly, change our days. They can help, and they can heal. Glimmers can remind us that in this difficult life, there are still good things. It’s a beautiful sentiment, really. Finding joy in the small things helps us keep going. You could say you had a good day simply because something funny happened to your friend, or because you took a walk and the sunshine made everything golden.

Glimmers ground and bring us to what Dana calls a “ventral state,” in which life seems more manageable: “We see options, have hope, and hear new stories. We connect to ourselves, to others, to the world around us, and to Spirit. We are regulated and ready to engage.” This aspect of glimmers implicitly highlights the inherent connection we have to things beyond ourselves.

Finding glimmers, holding them close, allows us to find the good and face our days with a strength rooted in hope.


@jodie.melissa Some wellness trends that it’s time to deinfluence… #deinfluencer #deinfluencing #toxicwellnessculture #toxicwellness ♬ original sound – jodie.melissa

These days, more and more concepts surrounding well-being are being identified and embraced on social media in attempts to find genuine joy and peace during a time when everything just feels like it’s falling apart.

There are, of course, arguments against the ever-increasing concepts of wellness in favor of criticism and action against systemic issues. On one hand, prevalent skepticism in TikTok health and wellness culture is perfectly understandable. Discussion has even sparked on if wellness culture, exacerbated by social media, is going too far. The lack of infrastructure for health and well-being also forces us to find our own ways to go on with our days.

Further, the onus of well-being often falls on the individual—we just have to accept that life is hard. We just have to stay resilient. Isn’t that such a familiar sentiment? But for how long can we accept things as they are and not collectively try and make things better?


@theholisticpsychologist Glimmers ☀️ #selfhealers #glimmers #healingtiktok #healingjourney ♬ Chill Day – LAKEY INSPIRED

On the other hand, many also argue in favor of pursuing mental wellness and well-being. You can’t ignore your mental and psychological well-being and live in despair, burning yourself out trying to change a world seemingly wanting to bring you to your knees.

It’s difficult to think of it as an either-or situation. We can’t expect finding glimmers will cure our mental illnesses or solve the problems of someone who’s trying to make ends meet, but we also can’t live out our days believing there’s no hope left. Dana even tells Newsweek that glimmers don’t take away the trauma or the suffering, but it’s a reminder that our biology can hold all that pain and still, we can experience sparks of joy.

There’s no harm in finding and experiencing glimmers, and there’s no harm in using all that hope to carry us forward.

As social media, in particular, lays bare the complexity of humanity, there is definitely a space in the world for us to find our glimmers and find joy in our days, while still refusing to take things as they are and pushing for something better.

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Eco-Anxiety Is A Real Mental Health Problem And It Has A Lot To Do With Climate Change

Wait, what’s eco-anxiety?

The worsening environmental decline takes a toll on a person’s mental health, manifesting in anxiety, stress, and depression. Plenty of people often feel this way, but this chronic fear of environmental doom is called “eco-anxiety.” 

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Eco-anxiety (or climate anxiety) is a common feeling among Generation Z who often bear the crushing weight of the future’s uncertainty, but anyone can suffer from it. People who experience extreme climate events, especially those who are forcibly displaced due to disasters, are very likely to suffer from mental health problems.

For Filipinos, this is an all-too-familiar feeling. The Philippines is often ravaged by deadly storms and typhoons that leave havoc in its wake. The geographical location of the country makes it prone to disasters, traumatizing many communities in cycles. Though they may be natural calamities, extreme weather events are worsened by climate change. As if that’s not dreadful enough, parts of the country will be under the high tide line in 30 years. All of these are significant factors that contribute to an individual’s mental health.


Marginalized groups are the most vulnerable during calamities, but they are also the least likely to have the resources and access to professional help. Acknowledging that climate threat affects psychological distress and knowing how to cope with it is crucial.


If you experience eco-anxiety, don’t invalidate your feelings of distress or think that they’re unwarranted. Your reaction to climate change is valid. Feeling hopeless or anxious about the future doesn’t make you atypical because there are millions of people in the world going through the same thing. Looking for like-minded people who understand and relate to your struggles might help.

In this age of social media, there may be a Facebook group or Telegram group chat that’s right up your alley. Find that local (or even international) community with whom you can share your thoughts freely and strike up climate conversations. You can have a great support system aside from your friends and family amidst all the chaos.


Don’t forget to unplug and disengage every once in a while. It is important to be educated about climate issues, but recognize when you’ve reached your limit. Give yourself permission to seek respite and engage in activities for your enjoyment. It doesn’t mean that you’re abandoning the cause—you’re just prioritizing your mental health, too. Keep in mind that it’s never wrong to seek professional help from psychotherapists. Some people find that seeking climate-aware therapists has helped cope with the impacts of climate change on their mental health.


The state of the planet can be overwhelming to the point of believing that nothing you’ll ever do will make a significant difference, so you might as well not try. Others are optimistic enough to think that everything is going to be alright, so there’s no need for them to step up. Get away from the extremes and land in the middle where you recognize the dangers of climate change, you’re hopeful for a better future, and you know that it’s time to take action.

Being idle might magnify the feelings of helplessness, so turn eco-anxiety into climate action by committing to personal changes. Focus on the factors that you can control and commit to small steps, such as spreading awareness and educating other people about climate issues, taking part in environmental initiatives and organizations, and reducing your carbon footprint by living a more sustainable lifestyle. Holding big corporations accountable and lobbying for genuine change by supporting the development of environmental policies are crucial as well.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that climate action looks different for each individual, and environmental justice is a must. It is an intersectional issue that involves class, gender, disability, race/ethnicity, and indigeneity. Though climate change is a global issue that includes all human beings, not everyone has the same resources, opportunities, and privilege to take climate action. This means that combating climate change goes hand in hand with the fight for equality in every form of society.

Though climate issues are grim and distressing, it is possible to keep fighting for our future while keeping our mental health in check. Go beyond the personal level and create change in your respective communities, too. Mitigating the effects of climate change cannot be done alone, so we must all work together to overcome this great living emergency.

Medusa Was a Victim—And So Were the Other Girls

Off with their heads.

(Trigger warning: This article contains the words rape and sexual harassment.)

The Tale of Medusa tells us of The Gorgon with a head full of snakes, whom no man could ever gaze at without turning her into stone. In fact, killing her became one of mythology’s greatest quests when demigod Perseus beheaded her, using it as a weapon and giving it as a gift to the goddess of wisdom and war, Athena. A woman so feared, even a lock of her hair was used to cast terror unto any enemy unfortunate enough to even accidentally behold it.

But was Medusa really the terrifying villain Greek mythology has painted her to be? Or was she a victim, often overlooked by the patriarchy—including the gods of Olympus?

Medusa With the Head of Perseus. Sculpture by Argentine-Italian artist Luciano Garbati

Behind the heroic, machismo culture that these tales have bred, Medusa remains an image of female rage. If you haven’t brushed up on mythology 101, it was said that she was one of the most beautiful women that ever walked the earth—so breathtaking that she could rival Athena’s charms. This stirred jealousy within the goddess. One day, the sea god Poseidon saw Medusa and could not resist her beauty, forcing himself onto her in the temple of Athena. The goddess ignored the Gorgon’s plea for help and punished her by turning her hair into snakes and made it impossible for anyone to even look at her. This curse consumed Medusa and fueled her hatred for mortals.

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Medusa is just one of the prominent figures of feminism whose backstory is often left in the dark. For her, it was Athena’s temple. For me, it was in my own home—at 5 years old.

The trauma never left me and took me years to even accept it, but here I am, fearlessly writing about it because of all the other women who came forward when #HijaAko trended on Twitter a few months ago. If you haven’t been on social media, it trended when a male public figure called out a rising female Gen Z icon and activist when she tweeted, “stop teaching girls how to dress? Teach people not to rape.”

According to BBC, a meta-analysis of 28 studies of women and girls aged 14 and older who had non-consensual sex obtained through force or threat found that 60% of these victims didn’t acknowledge that they had been raped.

A key reason why most cases aren’t reported right away? Because it’s common for victims to need time to acknowledge what’s happened to them, with some reporting it a few years later—making it easy for authorities to dismiss it.

Rape culture is real. When a female talks about her experience, it is often met with responses such as “maybe you were wearing a skimpy outfit,” “you asked for it!” or “boys will be boys!” At an early age, girls are taught to dress modestly so that boys will not be tempted. The acceptance of this “prevention” for so many years became a justification for many assaults, but no one thought about the “solution.” If it’s the clothes that provoke men, then why are children (some even infants) victimized? If they froze in fear instead of fighting back, how come they “asked for it?” Why do we teach girls to behave instead of correcting boys as a solution? Why is it so hard to teach males to not look at females (or males) as sexual objects designed to serve them?

Perseus with the head of Medusa by Benvenuto Cellini

How could Athena, a divine being full of power, be so merciless? How could a victim be blamed for every unfortunate event? Why do women always have to be in the losing end?

If this happened to you, you are not damaged goods. You are a survivor whose power is waiting to be recognized. You are the woman of your quest. Be patient with yourself, take your time in healing. If you haven’t experienced it, help someone you know by listening, reassuring, encouraging and helping them establish a safe space physically and emotionally. Read their stories, share their pain and may all of us be less fearful, more brave, and erase the stigma completely.

Painting in featured art by Valentin Melik