When do we think of someone who is depressed, what comes to mind? While for many, the mental picture may be of someone who is crying, lying around, and unable to function, there are some who conceal their depression so well, that it often goes unnoticed.
Now, let me be clear, just because someone is good at hiding their depression, does not mean they are suffering any less. Actually, hidden depression and even ‘high-functioning’ depression can be even harder to deal with, because when depression is buried instead of being dealt with, it tends to snowball. In many cases, someone who is hiding their depression may not be seeking the proper treatment or getting the right support.
If you feel like you may know someone with concealed depression, please look out for the following signs.
1. They are isolating a lot.
When someone is depressed but does not want others to see, they will withdraw and isolate. Where they may have had a very active social life before, they are now spending nights on the couch alone or backing out of plans. Of course, everyone needs time to themselves sometimes, but if you notice someone you love withdrawing and isolating quite a bit, it can be a major sign of hidden depression.
2. Their personality changes.
Personality changes are very typical of hidden depression. Someone who is depressed may go from being bubbly and happy to being sad and pessimistic. They may go from being social and fun to wanting to be alone. If you notice sudden changes in someone you love’s personality, check on them.
3. Their weight is suddenly fluctuating.
Hidden depression causes weight fluctuations because people will change their eating habits when depressed. This may result in emotional eating (i.e, weight gain) or a loss of appetite (i.e, weight loss.)
4. They seem withdrawn and even distant.
When you are around your depressed friend, if they seem like they are not present (mentally) and are withdrawn and spaced out, this could mean they are depressed. A lot of times, in cases of depression, people will feel stuck in their own thoughts. In the case of hidden depression, because this person does not want others to know, this may seem uncharacteristic of them.
5. They are abusing substances.
While most people think of substances as being the cause of depression, this is one of those situations where you have to ask which came first, the chicken or the egg (so to speak)? Oftentimes, substance abuse is a symptom of an underlying mental health struggle.
6. Their sleep habits change.
People who are depressed will have major sleep changes. This could mean sleeping for hours and hours on end, or it could be barely sleeping at all.
7. They seem edgy.
One of the most overlooked signs of depression, more specifically hidden depression, is agitation. Someone who is depressed may seem more edgy than normal. Small things will set them off, and they may seem like every little thing upsets them.
8. When you ask how they are, they change the subject.
When you ask your friend how they are, how do they respond? Someone who is depressed may jump to defend their condition by saying they are fine, and they may even make a whole list of excuses for their mood. Just remind them that you are there to support them when they need you.
9. They engage in a lot of negative self-talk or self-deprecating.
Pay attention to how this person speaks. Do they speak down on themselves, jokingly calling themselves worthless? If they do, they are likely feeling down on themselves, which is a sign of hidden depression.