How Do Depressed People Act?


Question:  I'm playing a depressed character in a play.  Just how do depressed people act?  Are there any tips or suggestions you can give me so I can represent her behavior as accurately as possible?

Answer:  First of all, thank you for wanting to portray depressed people in an accurate way rather than just showing a stereotypical representation of the illness.  This will go a long way in removing the stigma associated with depression and help people to understand what it really is.

As far as the visible signs of the illness, people will depression may do any of the following things:

  • Talk about how sad or empty they feel, cry or simply have a sad facial expression.
  • Stop doing things that they used to love doing.
  • Have changes in their appetite or gain or lose weight even though they are not trying to.
  • Become angry or irritable.
  • Have problems with sleeping, such as insomnia or sleeping late into the day.
  • Act agitated and restless or move and speak slowly.
  • Act tired or low on energy.
  • Talk about feeling worthless, hopeless or guilty.
  • Have problems thinking, concentrating or making decisions.
  • Talk about suicide or death or attempt to harm themselves.

Oddly enough, people with depression may also not show any visible signs of depression when they are out in public.  Many depressed people become very good at pulling themselves together and hiding it when they are on the job or with friends and family, even though they may be falling apart in their private lives.


Mayo Clinic Staff. "Depression (Major Depressive Disorder)."  Mayo Clinic.  Last reviewed:  April 17, 2015.  Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.  Accessed:  May 30, 2015.

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