While everyone feels down from time to time, depression is something else entirely. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), depression “causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working.” These symptoms must be present for at least 2 weeks before someone can be diagnosed.
While you might expect someone with depression to seem down all the time, that’s not always the case. People with concealed depression are masters at masking their true feelings and may come across as some of the most outgoing, upbeat people you know. Mood is not always a factor.
People with concealed depression often feel like they don’t have control over their lives. This lack of control causes them to look for any area of their life that they feel like they can control. Sometimes this causes people to control their sleeping and/or eating habits. It could mean that they sleep very little or that they sleep as much as possible. Some people with depression sleep to try to avoid dealing with their inner pain. It can also mean eating very little or eating a lot.
These are habits that become an attempt to self-medicate. It can be anything from exercise and taking long walks to listening to music or watching TV shows. These habits are a way for people with concealed depression to try to escape from their emotions and thoughts.
Very Talented and Creative
Many artists, musicians and other creative types struggle with depression. They see the world differently, which leads to their creative perspective, but it also means that they think about life, death and their purpose a lot more than the rest of us.
People with concealed depression are exceptional at making excuses that sound plausible. These excuses can be used to mask symptoms of depression that they may have let slip, or they may be excuses to get out of going to social activities.
Knowledgeable About Substances
We all know that alcohol is a depressant and caffeine is a stimulant, but people with concealed depression may be very knowledgeable about the effects of these and other substances. They know that what they put in their body can alter their state of mind.
Not Interested in Their Favorite Activities
People with depression often lose interest in things they used to enjoy doing, and they make excuses so they don’t have to do these activities anymore.
Appear Very Happy
Many people with concealed depression overcompensate by acting very cheerful and outgoing. They know how to turn on a smile and appear like they’re happy.
Not Wanting Others to Be Unhappy
People with concealed depression can be very comfortable being around people who are unhappy. This is one of the reasons they try to hide their own depression. They don’t want to bring the people around them down by exposing their inner turmoil. They don’t want anyone to feel sorry for them.
Trouble with Abandonment
Anyone can feel sad when they open themselves up to someone only to end up feeling rejected by the other person. People with depression feel this even more so. They fear letting people in because they may not be accepted. This is one reason they cover up how they feel.
If you have depression, know that you’re not alone, you matter and you are important. Please seek professional treatment by contacting the Crisis Text Line. Simply text “Start” to 741-741. Another option is to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.