Depression is a scary beast. Like many mental illnesses it goes undiagnosed for long periods of time, slowly plunging its victims into deeper despair like toxic quicksand. Concealed depression may be even scarier; Those who suffer from it have conditioned themselves to hide their inner turmoil so well that their emptiness and isolation virtually goes unnoticed, even by those closest to them. They are left to suffer alone, having convinced their families, partners, and friends that there are no problems.
Musician Chester Bennington recently took his own life after struggling with concealed depression his entire life. A mere 36 hours before his death, a heartbreaking video taken by his wife Talinda shows him laughing and playing with his kids, a prime example of just how camouflaged this type of depression can be.
"Depression doesn't have a face or a mood"
It is important not to self-diagnose or diagnose others, but if you find yourself or someone you know constantly indulging in some of the following behaviors, it is definitely time to talk to someone. No matter how alone you may feel, there are people who specialize in helping those who feel exactly like you do. For many, it’s easier to talk to a stranger than it is to a loved one.
1. You’ve lost interest in your favorite activities
All of the things that used to bring you joy no longer do. You feel as though you are constantly waiting for something, but you aren’t sure what it is...and in the meantime, you’re painfully aware of the fact that life is passing you by.
2. Or you partake in habitual remedies
Not all people who suffer from concealed depression behave in the exact same way. You may also find yourself making lifestyle changes or partaking in certain habits as a way of bringing order to your inner tumult, habits such as running, weightlifting, going for a walk through the park, shopping, etc.
3. You have abnormal sleeping and eating habits
Abnormal means insomnia or constant exhaustion, having no appetite or feeling perpetual hunger. You’ve convinced yourself you are in control of these “basic” daily rituals, but you go about it in an unhealthy way.
4. You have fear of abandonment
Those suffering from depression feel as though they are a burden to their loved ones. They don’t want to reveal the true extent to which they are suffering because they are worried this sort of pressure will cause their loved ones to leave.
5. You go out of your way to appear happy
Classic case of overcompensation. Depression is not just a mood— it is so strong a force that is alters behavior. You hide your true emotions and put on a cheery act when interacting with people because you don’t want to bring them down and because you’ve been doing it so long its become a conditioned response.
6. You are very talented, creative, and expressive—Even if you do not recognize it
Those who suffer from concealed depression will usually try to find outlets through which to conquer their inner demons. Many of these people are talented creatives, excelling at art, music, leadership, or any other field. There are multiple studies linking intelligence to depression. This unique perspective can be a double-edged sword.
You think about life and death a lot
We all do from time to time, but dealing with concealed depression means constantly questioning purpose and facing mortality. If you’ve seriously considered suicide, do not hesitate to tell someone close to you or speak to a professional immediately. You are not alone. You are not alone.
7. You are a cover-story pro
Lying about your emotions or those cuts and bruises on your body comes naturally to you. This is just another way of refusing to “burden” friends and family with your grief. You are not a burden.
8. You feel like you have no control
And yet the thought of letting anyone believe you are not in total control is agonizing. Constantly worrying about things out of your control is exhausting, and you compensate for your fear of the unknown through any of the other habits listed here.
9. You are uncomfortable seeing others in pain
Knowing what it feels like seeing to see others in pain is a driving factor in covering up your own. You don’t want to bum people out or to have them feel sorry for you. Making people around you feel comfortable and happy is a priority.
10. You are a perfectionist
You are always seeking love and affection, which is another reason you refuse to risk making loved ones uncomfortable. Showing that you are not perfect means revealing your vulnerability and what you perceive to be weakness.
If any of these behaviors feel all too real for you, please please please do not hesitate to get help. It is nothing to be ashamed of. This website lists depression hotlines you can call anonymously and even provides a list of questions to ask if you aren’t even sure where to begin.