9 subtle things people do when they are deeply unhappy with life

It’s a harsh reality that not everyone in life is happy. Some people are deeply unhappy and they often mask their feelings behind subtle actions.

The tricky part is, these signs are easy to overlook or misinterpret, because let’s face it, we’re all busy dealing with our own lives.

But if we look carefully, there are telltale signs that someone is struggling internally. And being aware of these can make a world of difference.

In this article, I’ll dive into 9 subtle things people do when they’re deeply unhappy with life. It’s a quick read, but it might just open your eyes to what’s happening beneath the surface.

1) They retreat into their shell

When someone is deeply unhappy with life, they often withdraw from their social circles.

You see, unhappiness has a way of making us feel isolated. We feel like we’re alone in our struggles and it’s a heavy burden to carry. So, instead of reaching out, we retreat.

It’s not that they don’t want to connect with others. It’s more about feeling overwhelmed by the thought of pretending to be okay when they’re not.

This subtle change can be easily dismissed as them just being busy or needing some alone time. But if it becomes a pattern, it may be a sign that they’re deeply unhappy.

2) Their passion fades away

As someone who loves painting, I remember a time when I found myself in a rut. I was deeply unhappy and that reflected in my once cherished hobby.

Usually, my canvas would be full of vibrant colors and expressive strokes. But during that period, I just couldn’t bring myself to pick up the paintbrush.

I’d stare at the blank canvas, but instead of feeling inspired, I felt empty. The spark was gone and in its place was this unshakeable sadness.

That’s the thing about unhappiness – it can rob you of your passion. Activities you once loved can suddenly feel like a chore.

And this isn’t unique to me or painting. I’ve seen it happen with friends who love to cook or write or play music too.

3) They’re often fatigued

You know how we often joke about being tired all the time? Well, it turns out, chronic fatigue could be a sign of deep unhappiness. 

According to research, there’s a strong link between depression and fatigue. So if you notice someone always seems tired, despite getting plenty of rest, it’s not just because they’re overworked or not sleeping enough. It could be a manifestation of their unhappiness.

Understanding this link is crucial because it can help us empathize with what they’re going through and provide them with the support they need.

4) They lose their appetite

Eating is one of life’s simple pleasures. But when someone is deeply unhappy, even food loses its appeal.

We’ve all had those days when we’re so stressed or upset that we just can’t eat. But imagine feeling like that all the time. That’s what deep unhappiness can do.

You might notice they’re skipping meals more often or not finishing their food. Or maybe they’re just not as excited about food as they used to be.

It’s a subtle sign, but one that shouldn’t be overlooked. Because while losing a few pounds might not seem like a big deal, consistent lack of appetite can lead to serious health problems. And more importantly, it’s a cry for help that shouldn’t be ignored.

5) They become overly self-critical

We all have an inner critic. It’s that little voice inside our head that points out our flaws and mistakes. But when someone is deeply unhappy, that voice can become relentless.

They start to blame themselves for everything that goes wrong. They put themselves down and dismiss their achievements as insignificant.

You might notice them being overly critical of their work, their appearance, or even their personality. They might constantly compare themselves to others and always find themselves lacking.

This constant self-deprecation is a sign of deep-rooted unhappiness. It’s a reflection of how they see themselves – unworthy and inadequate. And it’s a cycle that’s hard to break without help and support.

6) They smile less

A smile can speak volumes. It’s a universal sign of happiness, a way of connecting with others. But when you’re deeply unhappy, that genuine, heartwarming smile becomes rare.

You might notice their smiles don’t reach their eyes anymore. Or maybe they just don’t smile as often as they used to. It’s as if the joy has been drained from their life, leaving a void that’s hard to fill.

It’s heartbreaking to see someone you care about lose their ability to smile freely. But it’s important to remember that this lack of joy isn’t a choice. They’re not being difficult or ungrateful. They’re just struggling with something bigger than themselves.

And sometimes, the best thing we can do is simply be there for them, offering our understanding and unwavering support.

7) They neglect their self-care

When I was wrestling with my own unhappiness, I remember how self-care fell by the wayside. Simple routines like brushing my hair or taking a shower felt like climbing a mountain.

Mornings were the hardest. I’d wake up and just lie there, feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders. The thought of getting up and facing the day was overwhelming. So, I often ignored these routines, dismissing them as insignificant.

Looking back, I realize it wasn’t just laziness. It was a manifestation of the despair I felt inside.

So, if you see someone neglecting their self-care, don’t be quick to label them as lazy or careless. It could be a sign they’re deeply unhappy with life. Understanding this can make all the difference in how we respond to them.

8) They become indifferent

One of the subtlest signs of deep unhappiness is indifference. Things that used to matter to them suddenly don’t anymore.

Whether it’s a favorite hobby, a cherished relationship, or a lifelong dream, they seem to lose interest. It’s as if they’re just going through the motions of life, without really living.

You might hear them say things like “I don’t care” or “It doesn’t matter” more often. Or maybe they just seem detached and unresponsive.

This indifference is not a sign of weakness or apathy. Rather, it’s a defense mechanism against the pain they’re feeling inside. And recognizing this can help us approach them with the compassion and patience they need during this challenging time.

9) They hide their true feelings

The most significant sign of deep unhappiness is the fact that people often hide it. They put on a brave face, pretend everything’s okay, even when it’s not.

They might laugh at your jokes, engage in conversations, and continue with their daily routine. But underneath the surface, they’re fighting a battle you know nothing about.

This is because they don’t want to be a burden to others. They don’t want to bring others down with their unhappiness. So they hide their struggles behind a mask of normalcy.

Understanding this is crucial. Because only then can we create an environment where they feel safe to express their true feelings. And that’s the first step towards helping them navigate their way out of the darkness of unhappiness.

Final thoughts: It’s a silent struggle

Unhappiness, especially when it’s deeply rooted, is not just an emotional state. It’s a silent struggle that affects every aspect of life, from our social interactions to our self-perception and even our physical health.

But perhaps the most important thing to remember is that those who are deeply unhappy often suffer in silence. They smile through their pain, hide their struggles, and soldier on, often feeling alone in their battle.

Recognizing these subtle signs is just the beginning. Let’s use this understanding to approach our loved ones with empathy, to create safe spaces for them to express their feelings, and to offer them the support they need.

Because sometimes, knowing that someone cares can make all the difference in the world.

Lucas Graham

Lucas Graham, based in Auckland, writes about the psychology behind everyday decisions and life choices. His perspective is grounded in the belief that understanding oneself is the key to better decision-making. Lucas’s articles are a mix of personal anecdotes and observations, offering readers relatable and down-to-earth advice.

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