Can depression be hidden well? Maybe. You might be able to put on a smile and carry on. I’m truly a genius at this. I’ve done it my entire life. If people understood depression, they would know it is not always read on a face, and it is not always seen in behavior.
Many out there would never know the extent of my depression. My mask blends in well. But maybe to a couple people I hide nothing. They recognize depression exhibit itself in other ways, mainly my health.
Headaches return, odd physical ailments begin, sickness, body aches, muscle tension (exaggerated even further by stress), poor sleep, poor eating, lack of energy. Basically, you move from one concern to the next, piling them up, one on top of the other.
Physical changes to a mental condition. Once I decided I want accountability, and someone out there to love me enough to see the hidden depression, and to call me out, I felt something inside change. First of all, who knew I could be loved like that? Second, it forced me to be responsible to help myself, because I don’t want to live in depression.
The problem exists when those you love watch you go through life with such severe stress they begin to assume you deserve this time to be depressed. “Of course, you’re suffering, look what you’re going through…” “I have no idea how you keeping going, I’d want to give up..” “You’re such a strong person, I couldn’t do what you’re doing..”
It hurts to watch the ones we love be put through turmoil. It hurts them more to hear someone justify depression due to that turmoil. I know it’s out of love, but in this case, you love differently. You empathize but you don’t sympathize. You are dealing with someone in a life long battle of survival, they don’t need to feel justified in wanting to stop fighting. They need encouragement to live, not questions of how they do that. They need a reminder of who they are, that other people and circumstances outside their control do not define them. They need a gentle nudge to carry on, to remain positive, to pick up their battle equipment and keep fighting!
People need time to grieve, to consider, to heal- but for those who battle depression, there’s this invisible line they must walk, in their grief and healing, it’s just the way it is. We wander to far from that line, and the results can be disastrous. The helpful reminder of someone you trust may be the only anchor we have.