As a community, we still often overlook or misunderstand depression and its related symptoms even though our understanding of depression over the years has improved. Depression is one of the common reasons why people commit suicide.
We tend to ignore if one of our loved ones is struggling with this kind of illness mainly because of its continuing stigma. Worst case scenario, a lot of people are undiagnosed due to the mistaken assumption on how it manifests and its underlying signs and symptoms.
Because of these, some people with depression tend to hide this illness from themselves or from others. They may outgrow ways of managing their problems that hide the depression from those people that stay around them or keeping those people in identifying their own symptoms, specifically if they have undiagnosed depression.
The thought of the suffering as always visible to us is what we must unlearn, in that way we can understand better and assist those who struggle with unseen depression.
The list below are the signs of possible hidden depression.
1. Complaining being tired often and always seems exhausted.
Constant exhaustion is depression’s common side effect. Not all individuals who have depression struggle with it, but it’s prevalent. For someone who has this experience, among the side effects, it’s the hardest.
The root of exhaustion can be mysterious if someone has an undiagnosed depression disorder. They can sleep for long hours each night and wake up with the feeling that they were not able to sleep well. Worst case scenario, they might be blaming themselves for being lazy or another personal mistake that is triggering their energy levels to become low.
This symptom is difficult to hide, however, they still try to keep this from their friends and workmates, as it always affects their personal relationships and workload.
2. Might not physically look depressed.
Most people have expectations on how someone “looks like” if suffering from depression or how someone acts, because of cultural stereotypes and media. As we imagine, someone who has it is not dressing properly, mostly stays in the room, and always looks sad or emotional, however not all have the same behavior.
People indeed have different personalities. Symptoms and managing abilities of people who have depression are also different. A lot of them can have a disguise of having a healthy mentality to guard themselves, however, they’re not suffering less even though they look like they can manage it. Same thing with those who can’t cover up physically, they are not “weaker” than those people who can.
3. Strange irritability behavior.
The behavior of a depressed person can be interpreted as sadness even though it’s not their actual feeling. Being irritated is the typical symptom of hidden depression that’s common and usually overlooked.
This must be understandable, depression as far as we know is a health condition anyone can’t see or strictly measure which makes it difficult to fight.
It is difficult to put all aspects of life in place while dealing with depression, thus resulting to irritability and being impatient. If someone tries to confide and share their illness with you, you might get confused because they might not exhibit the usual signs of depression that you normally expects which is a shy, silent and emotional depressed person. If a person is short-tempered and irritable, that is the common side effect of depression.
4. Hard time responding to concern and affection
The main misinterpretation towards depression that has been implied in the first three paragraphs is about “feeling” lonely.
Depression in most situation is not feeling anything or slightly experiencing emotional struggles. Though it depends on a person, however some individuals that are in depression state almost feel “numb”, and the nearest thing they experience towards emotion is being irritated and sad.
Due to this, proper response over words and gestures and affection might be difficult for them or they don’t mind about it. They may get annoyed or illogically irritated towards you since it’s hard for their brain to respond and process towards your lovable gestures.
5. Abnormal eating behavior might be developed
There are two reasons why abnormal eating behavior develops: First, for coping. Second, as an effect of no self-care. Eating too much or little is a depression’s typical sign. The most shamed one is overeating. A depressed person usually relies on food as a source of their pleasure which makes them eat in extreme.
When an individual is not eating at all, it is because the illness affects their appetite and makes eating unappealing.
Since depression can’t be controlled, they might try to control something they can- like their appetite. If the person is undiagnosed, people might judge their eating behavior and would make them feel more bad about themselves.
6. They might often turn down their most loved or enjoyed activities.
Absence of interest to an activity for a long period is one of the symptoms of depressions. This illness is physically draining as it is mentally draining that makes it difficult to enjoy things.
Most loved activities might become less or not appealing at all because depression makes them difficult to enjoy or fulfill.
If there’s no other technique of explaining the loss of interest, it might be symptoms of depression.
7. They might start asking more help from you
Legitimately, a person who is depressed won’t function well as compared to a mentally healthy individual. There might be things that they can no longer do as often, at all, or as much.
Shaming or pestering them regarding it may not be helpful, rather would only hurt them. If the depression was kept private, dealing with others will be much harder as others might get irritated towards them due to incapability to perform what mentally healthy individuals are expected to do.
That’s the reason why understanding those people that’s part of your life, whether personal or work, is always the best. You’ll never know if the person is just slacking off, or struggling with mental health.
8. They might have better days or bad days
Depression has its own ups and downs. If a person has undiagnosed or hidden depression, they might get mood swings randomly, depending on the consistency of depression. The changes of mood might change without any cause, depending on how depression manifests to any individual either to you (or them, if undiagnosed).
If you identify that the person has depression, it’s quite possible to incorrectly believe they’re better permanently due to some good days. Though its always better if somebody has their day better than yesterday, you always need to wait for them to tell the things they are ready to manage and when.
Let’s assume they have recovered completely, pushing them fast towards the thing that can overwhelm them might cause them to retreat towards themselves again.
Be supportive to your family and friends who have the illness of depression, however, let them reach out to you.
Do you know someone who is struggling with depression? Check out these 10 Useful Tips to Overcome Sadness and Depression.