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What is concealed depression? Could a friend or loved one be suffering from it? How can we help?
Been having a bad day or week? Isn’t it our second nature to say, “I’m feeling depressed”? But the term we use so loosely is in fact a clinical condition. What has come to light in recent times is the term – concealed depression.
This suggests that our insecurities and fears cause us to feel upset or low as we find it difficult to express and overcome them. We tend to ‘conceal’ from others what is truly bothering us and are still able to put on a happy face around others.
We all have layers to our personality and keep our darkest layers completely hidden from those around us. We do so out of fear of being judged and subsequently rejected. With concealed depression, an individual fears that if they expose their true feelings and thoughts, the other individual would not want to deal with it and the consequence would, inevitably, be to feel unloved.
We wake up in the morning, handle our domestic duties and then for some of us, head off to work and deal with colleagues and superiors, head back home and tend to the family and complete our chores and for a lucky few, there is some recreational time before retreating to bed.
Through the course of our routine, while surrounded by people and situations, we may yearn to be by ourselves, to get some quiet time and not have to deal with anything or anyone. And in concealed depression, this need occurs not because we so want to but just that we are unable to be ourselves in the company of others and find it easier to be on our own.
We don’t return calls from friends, cancel on social engagements and don’t really feel the need to check instant messages or updates immediately or act spontaneously. All this takes serious effort and at some point in time, we just can’t bring ourselves to do so.
At times we feel, Who really cares to know about me? Why should I wax poetic about my day and plans ahead?
Conversations seem empty and pointless even when we may have a hundred thoughts running through our mind. But we do not feel like voicing these. At times we feel, Who really cares to know about me? Why should I wax poetic about my day and plans ahead? And the rest of the time, the need strikes to retreat into our shells and dwell there; hence the lacklustre dialogue with others.
Concealed depression is real. It is not merely associated with sleep and eating habits being affected or crying spells or isolation; rather, it may border on these, the distinction being that one is able to appear in control, calm and happy when among others, all the while living in their own private hell.
It may be triggered through stress at home, or on the job, nastiness directed at the individual, troubled relationships and capricious friendships. It makes one question their purpose and that of those in their lives. It makes one question, would anyone be scared to lose me? It makes one question their value and worth in the eyes of those they consider important. And the ever looming question: Is my worth as an individual truly reciprocal?
It is not about grand gestures or flattery but the slightest acknowledgement and appreciation for the other which can help the spirit soar in ways that are indescribable. It is the warm feeling we experience, when we smile not just with our mouth but with the eyes – when those we consider significant, are pleasant to us. Just that, simply pleasant. Tremors to this result in a feeling so earth shattering that one is left holding the broken pieces, wondering how they reached this stage – of feeling lonely even amidst others.
If you see a friend not seeming themselves or unusually quiet, ask them about it.
If you see a friend not seeming themselves or unusually quiet, ask them about it. Those who may appear happy and fun would still appreciate questions stemming from concern rather than curiosity. And for those who may be feeling this way, the fog does clear indeed and gives way to sunny skies.
Just as we all hope every morning when we pray to the weatherman, the prayer is directed back to the soul. It’s not easy dealing with feelings of unhappiness when all we so desperately wish for is to feel loved. But the best way to start is to remind ourselves that we are alive and we survived another day and so could get through it, to a happier place eventually.
I’m taking baby steps too.
Hiding your emotions concept via Shutterstock
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