Major depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the U.S., but it can be easy to conceal. Many people don’t like talking about mental health, and depressed people can develop many habits to “normalize” their behaviors to fit in.
People who conceal their depression often take extra care to appear all right or even over-the-top upbeat. They stick to the positive parts of their public persona and hide what’s going on inside.
This secrecy can be caused in part by extreme fears of abandonment. People experiencing depression may be afraid of rejection if they confess their true feelings. This can lead to “cover-ups” so that friends will not notice signs of pain.
Depressed people may also have habitual remedies that can range from medication to exercise, music, or anything they can think of to get them out of the funk of foggy thoughts. Abnormal sleeping and eating habits are textbook examples.
And sometimes people with depression can be expressive and artistic. Some of the world’s most famous artists, musicians and leaders suffered from mental illnesses. They are often in touch with their own strengths and weaknesses. They can convey deep emotions through their chosen mediums.
Those who live with depression sometimes conceal their condition to protect themselves and people around them. But depression doesn’t have to be a secret. Depression is just like any other illness — it can be treated. If you or someone you know is struggling, reach out. Give yourself and your loved ones permission to feel what you feel.
And if you or someone you love needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.