7 subtle signs someone is struggling in life but doesn’t want to admit it

All of us will go through struggles at some point in life… but not all of us will always be forthcoming about it. 

Many people tend to keep their feelings and emotions bottled up; allowing things to slowly eat away at them, rather than taking the steps to improve. 

Not good. 

So if you suspect someone close to you is struggling to get through the day, it’s a good move to let them know you’re there for them, and that they aren’t alone. 

But before all that, you should get acquainted with the signs, the ones most people overlook. 

In this article, I’ll take you through the subtle signs someone is struggling in life but doesn’t want to admit it. 

If you recognize a few of these items, consider it time to take action. Let’s get to it! 

1) Their eating habits change 

People who are hiding their emotional distress in life may say they’re still doing well, so pay attention to the little things. 

Are they barely eating? Or are they being a bit too indulgent and reliant on food for satisfaction? 

Things like noticeable weight loss or gain, irregular eating patterns, or a sudden interest in junk food often point to deeper issues. 

A person’s relationship with food can be very telling. 

Personally, for me, food can be distracting and comforting; it can temporarily fill an emotional void when I’m feeling down and depressed. 

I remember a few years ago, within hours of breaking up with a girl, rather than weeping or trying to win her back, my instinctive move was to indulge in junk food. 

I distinctly recall spending a small fortune on Uber Eats that particular day, ordering burgers, fries, chicken tenders, ice cream, you name it.

Everyone copes in different ways; for me at that moment, I turned to overeating as my antidote. 

2) Their sleep patterns are erratic 

Like food, a person’s sleep patterns can vividly tell a story, so start looking closely. 

Difficulty falling asleep, frequently waking throughout the night, sleeping a bit too much, or appearing constantly tired, irritated, and unkempt… all these things, when prolonged, point to underlying issues. 

You know how you can’t sleep before a flight the next day? 

You can’t sleep because you have a lot on your mind, you have racing thoughts, and then you wake up the next morning deprived and tired.

Imagine having to deal with this every day… something that can, unfortunately, be the status quo for someone struggling through life. 

3) They begin to withdraw socially 

When you’re struggling in life, the tendency is often to avoid other people. 

This is because dealing with other people, whether sad or not, typically takes effort and emotional investment. 

These are things that are hardly appealing when you’re feeling down and experiencing a general lack of motivation. 

So if someone was once the life of the party, but has suddenly pulled away, frequently rejecting invites, or seeming unusually quiet, erratically withdrawn, or even uncharacteristically talkative in social settings, this could potentially be cause for concern.

After all, a noticeable decline in things once enjoyed is always a red flag. Stay wary. 

4) They start neglecting their responsibilities 

Indifference and depression can often be used synonymously. 

In this case, you become so consumed by your internal struggles, that you simply stop caring. 

Maybe you begin regularly missing work deadlines despite your job by on the line because you’re too distracted, and struggle to focus. 

Maybe you begin neglecting your personal hygiene and appearance, uncaring about how you come across to others. 

Maybe you stop doing chores, letting your home and/or workplace regress into a veritable pig-stye. 

Suddenly, your responsibilities in life become insignificant, and eventually, you just disregard them altogether. 

So if you’ve noticed someone suddenly appearing like a slob, living in filth, or letting deadlines pass without hesitation, these signs could certainly be classified as alarming. 

5) They become irritable and experience mood swings 

It’s not rocket science: When you’re unhappy or stressed for prolonged durations, you get cranky. 

I went through some circumstantial depression during the pandemic. 

My hard-earned business was failing and drowning in debt, and I being the sole owner, had to absorb it all daily. 

Naturally, this changed my disposition and temperament for many of those dark days.

I was almost always irritable and annoyed at everyone; nobody was safe from my wrath. 

I was prone to sudden outbursts, snapping at those closest to me, snapping at the unassuming store clerk, and getting seething road rage. 

I fell out with friends. People were cautious of dealing with me, and rightfully so. 

Looking back, I still feel bad for letting my frustrations out on other, mostly innocent people. 

Live and learn. 

6) They often have unexplained physical ailments 

When you’re stressed or have a lot on your mind, this will often manifest as minor but frequent physical ailments

If the person you suspect is struggling has to deal with recurring migraines, stomach pain, muscle pain, sore throats, or other mundane physical complaints without a clear cause, this is likely linked to some level of emotional turmoil. 

You’d be surprised how far the mind can affect you physically. 

7) They begin to abuse alcohol and/or drugs  

This one is a bit less subtle than the rest. 

Indulging in alcohol and drugs is one of the oldest known forms of escapism known to man. 

You see, the average person can control themselves when it comes to indulging in substances. 

The average person is able to perpetuate moderation, discipline, and balance. 

When indulging makes the non-so-smooth transition to abuse, this is probably when you should start getting concerned.  

When a person regularly gets blackout drunk; or when they start a problematic illegal drug habit; or rely on prescription pills a bit too heavily, chances are there is something a bit deeper going on. 

Consider intervening before things get out of hand. 

Final words 

As established, life isn’t always easy. 

And not everyone is fully equipped with the tools to cope effectively. 

So if you notice someone exhibiting the signs in this article, pay it forward. 

Let them know they are far from alone. You’d be surprised how simple it can be to change somebody else’s life. 

Picture of Clifton Kopp

Clifton Kopp

Welcome to my writings on Ideapod! I'm a bit of a "polymath" in that I like writing about many different things. Often I'm learning from the process of writing. I hope you enjoy, and please leave a comment on one of my articles.

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