My beloved bipolar husband hates the term "depression" when applied to himself because he rarely perceives himself as sad. I suppose he might not be feeling sadness, but it does certainly look like he is to me.
His depressions mostly come out as a lack of motivation with a touch of moodiness. It usually represents itself as boredom and a strong desire to bury himself in video games for a few days.
I've learned that giving him extra physical affections really helps cuts down on how long these phases last.
Extra hugs, quick kisses or back rubs while I'm walking past him and any opportunity for physical contact goes a long way.
The hugs may seem different, maybe a bit quiet, or hollow on his end but I know he needs and likes them.
He doesn't sigh like he often does when we hug, or smile, or bury himself in my shoulder and sigh. The hugs are a bit robotic and complacent like it's difficult for him to go through the motions, so I try to let him go as soon as I feel any resistance.
I don't want my hugs to be oppressive, especially when he's in a depressive swing. I think he'd say that he loves my hugs, and I doubt he'd feel like he doesn't like them when he's depressed, but I'm not sure how accurate his own emotional read-out is when he's feeling like that, so I'll just keep holding him loosely, but as frequently as I can.
When he's had a particularly strong hypomania, I go all out with the extra cuddles and it can turn a week's worth of video games into two days of video games.
Video games are certainly not the problem, and he does play them when he's feeling normal, or even occasionally fiending maniac-ly over them while in hypomania.
It's simply a visible symptom of his depression when he quietly disappears into a video game. One of his most beloved pastimes is finding clues in the backstories in games, movies, and cartoons to piece together conspiracies.
Another sign of depression is when his conspiracies go away.
When he's depressed, his automatic socializing skills seem to turn off. Normally he'll gush about what he's doing in his RPG or how impressive the storyline is in his new game. While in depression, he quietly sinks into his computer, facing directly into it instead of at an approachable angle to it.
It can be quite a discrete change, one which has taken me a long time to be able to pick out.
I suppose the moral of my post today is that bipolars need hugs.