Many people struggle through life with hidden depression, hiding their depression from others and even from themselves. While help is readily available, many keep their depression concealed, masking their symptoms and putting on a “happy face” or always responding with “I’m fine” when asked how they are.
Reasons for Hiding Your Depression
There can be so many individual reasons for hiding personal depression; however, one reason may be that they do not want to admit or acknowledge the severity of their depression. Other reasons may be that they believe their depression will go away on its own, or may think, “We don’t talk about feeling sad, but push on through life.” It can be a common plight for thousands to believe that having a hidden depression makes them weak and asking for help is the last thing that they should do.
Signs of Hidden Depression
- Unusual sleep, eating, or drinking habits. When a change in the way a person sleeps or eats occurs, it can be a sign that something is not right in their world. For example: they cannot sleep or they sleep far beyond normal every day; overeating may help someone feel less emotionally empty by “stuffing” themselves; drinking may be used as a means to help cover up the feelings of sadness and loneliness. Others may lose all interest in food or drinking.
- Wear a “happy face” or “all is well face” so that others may think that indeed all is fine. In addition to the “mask of happiness,” they may avoid or give excuses why they cannot hangout, go out to dinner, go to a get-together, etc.
- Conversation may turn to topics the person does not normally talk about, with topics tending to focus on what their life has amounted to so far, what the meaning of life is, is life really worth living, would death be a better choice than the life they currently have, is there happiness out there for them, can they change the course their life is on. Hidden depression can change one’s entire outlook on life.
- Put out an attempted “cry for help” by making that appointment to see a specialist, or by letting some of their hidden feelings out to friends and family. These are attempted cries for help however as they tend to not keep that medical appointment, or they just blow off what they had said as having a bad day and that they did not really mean it.
- Those with a hidden depression who are keeping all of their emotions bottled up may find “leakage” of emotion, crying during a movie, commercial, or at family event, where they normally would not reveal that side of themselves. Other emotions may come out unexpectedly like flashes of anger, or becoming overly demonstrative with feelings of love and endearment toward others.
- Exhibit Depressive Realism where they have a more realistic and less optimistic view of world around them. For the most part, it is harder to cover up depressive realism as their viewpoints lack expectation that they will succeed or do well – they may look toward an outcome with a negative foundation that does not fare well for them – for example, they may have applied for a job promotion but say, “I doubt that I’ll get it, let alone be anywhere in the running for it.”
Help for Hidden Depression
Call a local psychiatrist with decades of experience who is ready to help you from taking the first step to recovery to reclaiming the happiness in your life that you deserve.