Depression can strike anyone at any given time, but many people keep their feelings hidden. Someone you know could be falling apart inside, but they might appear tough on the outside so they don’t feel like a burden to loved ones, or cause themselves any embarrassment. Depression affects approximately 350 million people of all ages worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.
Depression can fluctuate in severity depending on events going on in a person’s life, and can vary in duration. Depression stems from many different factors, including genetics, diet, environment, personality, and chemical imbalances in the brain.
Sadly, many people in the world who have depression don’t get the help they need either because they feel embarrassed to speak up about their mental health, or because other people have made them feel guilty or weak when they tried to explain their feelings.
Knowing the signs of depression isn’t always easy, as people can hide it very well. Look out for the following signs of hidden depression, in regard to both yourself and loved ones so that you and others may get the help you need.
Here are 7 signs of concealed depression:
1. A loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed.
Many people with depression find that they have no interest in doing much of anything, and just getting out of bed can seem like an insurmountable task most days. People who are depressed try to engage in things they once found enjoyable, but don’t find these activities pleasurable anymore. For example, if you once loved to dance, but just the thought of getting up and moving seems like torture, you might have concealed depression.
2. Lack of energy most of the time.
One of the biggest indicators of concealed depression is a lack of energy, which stems from either the inability to have a sound sleep at night, or the constant feelings of hopelessness and despair that plague the mind. Both of these can cause severe exhaustion, which makes it difficult for those with depression to get out of bed most days. However, you can combat these feelings by eating a healthy diet, drinking plenty of water, exercising, and socializing even if you don’t feel like it. Also, make sure you don’t schedule too much in one day, so that you don’t become overwhelmed.
3. Loss of appetite, or an increase in appetite.
Another common symptom of concealed depression is either overeating, or losing interest in food altogether. Gary Kennedy, MD, director of geriatric psychiatry at Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, New York, says, “A sudden change in weight, either gaining or losing, can be a warning of depression, especially in someone who has other symptoms of depression or a history of depression.”
Both of these scenarios can lead to severe complications, so if you notice yourself either having no appetite, or eating to appease your emotions, you could be depressed.
4. Regular insomnia.
According to WebMD, 80% of adults with depression have trouble falling or staying asleep. Patients who have chronic insomnia have triple the chance of developing depression compared to those who don’t suffer from insomnia. Many doctors believe that by treating insomnia, most patients would see a drastic decrease in their depression symptoms. While a couple of nights of tossing and turning don’t signal depression, not being able to fall and stay asleep over the course of weeks or months could point to a deeper issue.
If you find that you have trouble sleeping most nights, and you’ve noticed this happening consistently over a long period of time, you might suffer from concealed depression.
5. Abusing substances in order to deal with the depression.
Many people use substances for a variety of reasons, but it can indicate concealed depression in some people. Most of the time, people just want to escape their mind and emotions for a short amount of time, and can easily become addicted to the substance since it provides the desired result. While this is a more obvious sign of depression, someone who abuses substances such as drugs and/or alcohol might try to deny their depression and say they use the substance for other reasons.
6. Always saying “I’m fine” when someone asks.
People with depression have become skilled at covering up their true feelings, either so they don’t have to go through the hassle of telling someone about their struggles, or because they feel embarrassed. Either way, if you notice that someone you love tends to never complain and keeps their feelings to themselves the majority of the time, they might have concealed depression.
7. Wanting to spend most of their time alone.
People with depression lose interest in many activities and people they once loved, and tend to isolate themselves from others. A good indicator of depression is turning down social activities the majority of the time, and spending most of the time alone in his/her own room away from others.