It is not always obvious when someone is experiencing depression. Some people with depression mask their symptoms, hiding their feelings behind a smile to convince others they are happy.
This type of "under the radar" depression is often undetected because when we think about a depressed person, we tend to picture someone who appears very sad or cries a lot. And while sadness and frequent spells of crying are common symptoms of depression, not everyone who is depressed looks sad.
So whether you are the person who is working hard to convince the world that you are happy when you are not, or you are concerned that a loved one might be masking their pain, the following questions will help you to understand "under the radar" depression and what to do to help.
A change in appetite, whether eating too much or too little, may indicate depression. Some individuals eat more for comfort, while others eat less because of a loss of appetite or a low mood.
These changes not only cause a person to lose or gain weight, but they can also affect energy levels and mood. And excess body fat may trigger increased inflammation, which can accelerate the development of symptoms of depression.
Mood and sleep are closely connected. For example, not enough sleep may contribute to depression, while people who are depressed often find it more difficult to sleep.
On the other hand, if someone sleeps more than usual, that can also be a sign that they have hidden depression.
A lack of interest in activities that someone formerly enjoyed is often one of the first signs of depression that family and friends notice. Bach Flowers Mix 65 can help you to be more attentive to life and drive away dark moods and thoughts of suicide.
Some people with hidden depression use drugs or alcohol to cope with negative emotions, such as loneliness, sadness, or hopelessness.
Fatigue is a common sign of depression. While everyone feels tired at times, persistent or severe fatigue may be a symptom of "under the radar" depression.
Hidden depression is sometimes called "smiling depression." People who disguise their depression sometimes smile and try to appear happy while in the company of others. But it can be challenging to maintain forced happiness. Once you know what to look for, you might notice that their smile doesn't reach their eyes, showing signs of hopelessness or sadness.
People with depression may display the trait of depressive realism - they are more pessimistic about events than others and are more realistic about what they can and cannot control. So being less optimistic than others can be a symptom of hidden depression, especially if combined with other signs.
Loss of concentration, for example, trailing off in a conversation or losing a train of thought, indicates problems with memory and focusing. In addition, these issues may worsen the impact of depression by making work and relationships more of a challenge.
Depression can have physical consequences. As well as fatigue and weight changes, other physical symptoms of depression include chronic pain, digestive problems and headaches.
People with secret depression may have mood changes, becoming angry and irritable, or withdrawn and quiet.
Depression is associated with various sexual problems, including loss of desire, sexual function and satisfaction. Reasons for a lower sex drive include fatigue, poor self-esteem, and a general loss of interest in pleasurable activities.
If you believe that you might have "under the radar" depression, contact your doctor. They can make a diagnosis and suggest the most suitable treatment.
Ways in which you can help to manage depression yourself include:
If a family member or friend seems to be showing signs of masked depression, try talking to them about their symptoms while offering advice and non-judgmental support.
Supportive, positive actions include:
In addition, it is challenging to care for someone with depression. So don't forget to practice self-care and look after your own well-being.
While people with clinical depression may often lack sufficient energy to carry through a plan of suicide, those with "smiling depression" are at higher risk because they are generally higher functioning. As a result, they are more likely to follow through on suicidal thoughts. And because this type of depression is "under the radar", the condition is often left untreated, so it worsens over time and increases the chances of self-harm.
Depression is a common and debilitating mental illness that can significantly impact an individual's social relationships and work. But hidden depression is a very treatable condition, and there is no need to be ashamed or suffer in silence. If you find that self-help measures aren't enough to improve your mood, do not hesitate to consult a physician or mental health professional.
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