8 signs you might suffer from concealed depression
One of my favorite songs growing up was "1-800-Suicide" by 90's horrorcore rap group The Gravediggaz. In the song, they tell the listener to commit suicide, and list all the different ways they can do it, from jumping in a lion's den to smoking a cyanide joint to "lighting your balls on fire like Richard Prior." At the time, I thought it was hilarious, but there's nothing funny about real depression. It's a serious mental illness that often goes undiagnosed. Tragically, in many cases, we don't find out people were suffering until it's too late.
We've made a lot of progress to raise awareness about depression. It's become less a of a social stigma to get therapy. Celebrities like Lady Gaga, Brad Pitt and Winona Ryder have talked about their mental health struggles. And one of the biggest songs of the year is Logic's "1-800-273-8255," named after the Suicide Prevention Hotline. In the song, Logic encourages the listener to keep on living - the polar opposite of "1-800-Suicide."
But what about concealed depression? Not all depressed people walk around moping like Eeyore from Winnie The Pooh. Some people hide their despair so well that nobody suspects they're depressed - not even their close friends or immediate family. Just look at this video from musician Chester Bennington, taken 36 hours before his death. He plays with his kids, laughing. It looks like nothing is wrong.
As Chester's wife says, "Depression doesn't have a face or a mood." But there are common habits. Here are eight signs you might suffer from concealed depression:
1. Losing interest in your favorite activities
Those things you do to feel happy don't make you feel happy any more. Instead, you feel nothing. And you stop doing your favorite things.
2. Abnormal sleeping and eating habits
Instead of getting eight hours of sleep, you toss and turn from insomnia. Instead of eating three emails a day, you eat one, or forget to eat at all.
3. Fear of abandonment
You worry your problems will be a burden to others. You don't tell your loved ones that you're suffering because you think it will make them leave you. You need everyone to think you're in control.
4. Pretending to be happy
Depressed people are the greatest liars and the most convincing actors. You insist you're fine, and pretend to be happy, but you're just overcompensating.
5. Thinking about death a lot
It's normal to think about your own mortality, but not all the time. And if you're fantasizing about committing suicide and how everyone you know would react, that's definitely a red flag.
6. Creative expression of dark thoughts
Creative, talented people often suffer from depression. It's cathartic to deal with dark thoughts through music, art and writing - but it's not going to totally heal you.
7. You're uncomfortable with other people's pain
If you see other people in pain, you ignore it, because it reminds you of your own. You don't want to be serious. You just want to joke around.
8. You're a perfectionist
You want everyone to think you're perfect. If you admit you're not perfect, that makes you vulnerable, and weak. So you act like you don't have any problems. There's nothing to talk about.
Remember, if you're suffering from depression, there's always someone you can talk to. Don't call 1-800-Suicide. Call 1-800-273-8255.