Depression seems to hit when we least expect it. Sometimes it lies deep below the surface — just sitting there. Sometimes you try to pretend it’s not there — it is. And when anxiety sets in, it trumps any positivity you were feeling and bam — full-fledged symptoms.
Is your chronic back pain getting you down? Are you feeling more hopeless than ever yet you can’t muscle the courage to speak up about it? If that’s you, you are not alone. You may have something called concealed depression.
Dr. John Grohol, the founder, and CEO of Psych Central, an online mental health social network said, “People with concealed depression often don’t want to acknowledge the severity of their depressive feelings. You believe that if you just continue living your life, the depression will just go away on its own. In a few cases, this may work. But for most folks, it just drags out the feelings of sadness and loneliness.”
Grohol went on, “Dealing with the black dog of depression through concealing one’s true feelings is the way many of us were brought up — we don’t talk about our feelings and we don’t burden others with our troubles.”
We are here to examine 10 habits of people with concealed depression. If you know what to look out for, you can actively try to correct your thinking or your behavior.
9 Habits of People with Concealed Depression
You have abnormal sleeping and eating habits.
Even though this may seem trivial, depression actually has negative effects on other lifestyle components. You may be sleeping too much or too little. Maybe you are more tired than before — this is a sign of depression. The same is true for eating a lot or not enough. And, ironically, proper sleep and nutrition are necessary for pain healing, which are two ingredients for the food of life that our brains attempt to control. Depression produces a smothering lack of control and staying in power, sometimes, is all a person has. Sleep can be dreadful, or it can be a way to escape. This applies to food as well.
You tend to search for purpose.
Everyone needs some form of purpose. We want to make a difference.
Grohol says, “People suffering from hidden depression are not exempt from this. You too want to know the reason for your existence. You are much more susceptible to feeling things like inadequacy and anxiety which leaves you searching for something you can never seem to achieve in your own mind.”
You are a professional at coming up with ‘cover-up’ stories.
You are able to manipulate others into believing your intricate justifications for missed events. For example, you may make plans and then bail last minute or ghost your phone calls for days. Changing the subject when you are approached about why you missed the appointment is easy because you want the attention on something other than the truth.
You may put out a cry for help, only to take it back.
People with concealed depression fight relentlessly to keep it hidden. Sometimes, you’ll give in and share what’s on your mind only to say just kidding. Maybe you schedule a consultation with a therapist and have every intention of going but when morning comes and the day is here, you don’t go.
“Seeking out help for your depression would be admitting you truly are depressed. That is an acknowledgment that many people with concealed depression struggle with and cannot make. Nobody else is allowed to see your weakness,” Grohol explained.
You have abandonment issues usually.
Sometimes we let people in only to have them walk away. Time after time this happens, you eventually put walls up — fearful that everyone you let in will abandon you. This is called a self-fulfilling prophecy. You essentially create exactly what you fear most.
This cycle produces a demand for isolation and secrets because nothing is more devastating than discovering the dirtiest part of yourself is too ugly for a loved one to deal with.
You seek love and acceptance.
“People with hidden depression are not hiding their depression because they want to be dishonest, you are just working to protect your heart,” Grohol pointed out. “These people want to be loved and accepted just like everyone else.”
You are always making efforts to seem happy.
Living with depression means learning to fake moods. You frequently appear happy on the outside, but every smile faked makes it that much harder to push forward. When you allow your demons to appear outwardly, you think it’s only going to bring others down and possibly lose them forever.
You always think of the worst-case scenarios.
As beneficial as this way of thinking can be in stressful situations, always believing the worst-case scenario will happen is exhausting.
High intelligence actually links to people with depression because you are able to react to anything that comes your way. This makes you a good problem solver but more pessimistic than others without it. Psychologists call this depressive realism.
Grohol added, “It’s sometimes harder to cover-up this depressive realism, because the difference in attitude may be very small and not come across as something ‘depressing.'”
For example, a non-depressed individual may say, “I really think I’ll get that promotion this time!” — After getting rejected four previous times. A depressed person may respond with, “Well, I’m up for that promotion again, but I doubt I’ll get it.”
You have trouble shutting off your brain.
These personalities process everything in life at a lightening speed. You over think the positive and the negative — making the impact of the highs and lows much deeper.
If you can identify with any of these habits, break the cycle today. If you make plans, keep them. Speak up. Don’t keep it in any longer. You’ll notice that after you let it out, you’ll feel a weight come off you. Your chest will be lighter and you may be able to put on a truly happy face because most smiles are started by another smile. Pay it forward.