Many people think people suffering with depression always hole up in a dark room, huddled under a blanket and talk in monotone voices or cry uncontrollably. However, the reality is that many people hide their depression from many people in their life. They walk around, functioning in life with smiles on their faces. It can be hard then to know when and how to help. Even when people try their best to hide it though, there are a few signs you can look out for that hint at hidden depression.
We’ve all seen someone put a forced smile on their face or look like they’re just pretending to have fun. You might have even done it yourself a few times. People with hidden depression though wear this mask all the time. It can be hard to see past this falseness though – people can get good at faking it. Sometimes you can catch a glimpse of the hidden depression though when they don’t think anyone’s watching them or you spend a lot of time with them.
That forced happy mask can wear thin, and the more you know someone the more likely you are to notice. That’s why people with hidden depression will often make excuses to not spend time with people. They’ll always seem to have a quick and ready excuse for why they’re not able to hang out or see you.
A change in sleeping or eating habits is a big sign of something being wrong. Sleep is the cornerstone of good physical and mental health so when a person can’t sleep or sleeps too much every day, that may be a sign of hidden depression. Food or alcohol is also ways people can hide their feelings. Overeating can make someone suffering from hidden depression feel full. Drinking is also used to cover up feelings of loneliness and sadness. If someone goes in the opposite direction – losing interest in food or drink, it can also be a sign of hidden depression.
A person struggling with hidden depression may feel emotions more intensely than others. Suddenly crying or angry outbursts that seem out of character are a sign of something wrong. Often people with depression will express terms of endearment out of the blue. Hiding depression is a full time job so other emotions get neglected and can seep out.
A person with hidden depression might talk about more philosophical topics than normal. Discussions around the meaning of life or life purpose are common. These types of issues may hint of an internal struggle that is manifesting itself through other deep topics.
There’s evidence to suggest that people suffering from depression actually have a more realistic worldview. People who aren’t depressed on the other hand tend to be more optimistic about things. If you notice a change in a person’s optimism this could be a sign of hidden depression. It’s often so subtle that the person suffering doesn’t catch that they’re doing it.
The struggle to keep depression hidden can be intense. Sometimes a person will give in and express what they’re really feeling. They could even go as far as setting up an appointment with a doctor or calling a helpline. They could feel as if they’ve gone too far the next day though. Asking for help means admitting that the depression truly exists.