Depression is one of the most common problems in the U.S. but many people are living with depression and don’t realize that they need treatment. The buildup of stress, hopelessness and feelings of despondency can be gradual enough that people aren’t fully aware that they are living with a mental health disorder. People may try to hide their depression or store it away so that they can function but are not feeling as they normally do.
What Is Depression?
For some individuals who are not as familiar with the mental health condition, there is the misunderstanding that someone suffering from clinical depression can just “snap out of it.” The video below, from TedEd and Helen M. Farrell, clears up many of the misconceptions about depression, highlighting the causes and treatment options that are available.
If you or someone you love is dealing with depression, this video can be an educational resource to show others, to help better understand the mental health condition.
People with hidden symptoms of depression find ways to conceal how they feel and may do this subconsciously. They may try to maintain an outward appearance of friendliness to show others that everything is fine. They can put on a happy face and mask their true self in ways that even they aren’t fully aware of what they are doing.
Those with secret depression can find it easier to avoid acknowledging their feelings so that they can continue working and living their life. They might hope that these feelings will disappear on their own but ultimately the problem will continue to grow if they don’t accept and process what they are going through. These are some of the signs of hidden depression that may indicate a person needs help.
Pessimistic points of view and philosophizing
People with depression tend to view things with a harsher realism than those who aren’t depressed. Studies have shown that people without depression tend to believe they perform better on laboratory tasks than those with depression. This realism can sometimes become a habit of being more pessimistic about situations than others.
When someone is depressed they may subtly speak more pessimistically about the things that are going on in their life. They might not believe that they will get promoted, will ever be in a good relationship or that things will improve. They might talk down about themselves in a way that most people tend not to do.
A depressed person will also begin talking more philosophically than they normally do and discuss big idea topics like the meaning of life. They might talk about death, the possibility of ending their life or other dark topics of conversation. This habit can be a sign that they are secretly having a lot of depressing thoughts.
Wearing a Mask of Happiness
A person struggling with depression may try to avoid talking about what they are feeling to anyone. Talking about their feelings can make them more real so they may find ways to hide their true emotional state. They might wear a mask of forced happiness, especially around people they aren’t close with.
Their mask of happiness may start to wear thin the longer a person spends time with them. Because of this people with depression may try to spend less time around others for fear that their true emotional state will start to show itself. They may make many excuses not to hang out or to leave early so they can maintain their mask around others.
Different Sleeping or Eating Habits
When someone is dealing with depression it can start to affect them not only mentally but also physically. They might start to experience changes in their sleep patterns and appetite without really knowing why or how to change it. The physical habits we have can be a manifestation of our mental state in many ways.
When someone can’t sleep or sleeps for far too long it can be a sign that they are secretly depressed. They might either completely lose their appetite and be unable to eat or they may use food as a way to cope with their feelings. As a result they may gain or lose a noticeable amount of weight due to their hidden depression symptoms.
Volatile Emotions and Anger
People with hidden depression may be trying so hard to conceal their true feelings that occasionally let their mask slip and exhibit very intense emotions. They might suddenly cry during a sad scene in a movie or get very angry at someone who cuts them off while driving. In fact anger and irritability can be another distinct sign that someone is secretly depressed.
Some people have trouble processing their feelings of sadness and they end up seeming angry rather than depressed. Trying to hide their depression can make them more irritable and upset with other people as they refuse to acknowledge their true feelings.
If you notice any of these signs of hidden depression in yourself or in a loved one then it may be a good idea to talk about the situation. Discussing feelings of sadness with a loved one or with a professional therapist can help bring hidden depression to the surface so that it can be dealt with and ultimately resolved.