I’ve spent the past three days nursing a nasty cold; sore throat, earache, headache, seemingly eternal stream of snot, and a chesty cough. Yep, I’ve been feeling pretty sorry for myself. The twins have watched far too much television and barely any housework has been done. So as you can imagine, it’s been a great few days for feeling good about myself.
I know, I’m grotesque!
Some good has come from it though, I managed to prize myself out of bed and study my Book of Mormon this morning, which really is a miracle for me. It’s amazing how much good that book does when you’re feeling inadequate and just generally rubbish.
Then just this afternoon, whilst scrolling through Pinterest, I came across an interesting article by The Huffington Post today. The Huffington Post is an American news website (good old Wikipedia). I was attracted to the article by the headline:
I didn’t even need to read past that to know that I’d be able to resonate with at least some of the content. I’ve spent over ten years concealing my feelings of depression and anxiety. In fact I’ve only been able to start talking about it since the middle of last year.
Quite a few of the people I told face to face about my illness, responded with the words, “I would never have thought you struggle with that”, “but you’re always so happy” or “really? You?” And I don’t blame them for responding that way. Essentially, what I was telling them about me was a direct opposite of what they saw on the outside.
The author of the article, Lexi Herrick, states that “A person with concealed depression is someone who is conditioned to deal with their inner demons in a way that doesn’t make them clearly visible.”
This was certainly true for me and still is sometimes, depending on whether I feel I need to control people’s reactions or even just thoughts towards me. I think sometimes it’s necessary to do this, I mean, you don’t want a counselling session with everyone you meet. It’s okay to say to your neighbour, as you pass in the street, “I’m fine thanks” and it’s acceptable (to me anyway) to say to an acquaintance passing in the corridor at church, “I’m good, you?”.
However, at some point you have to confide in someone. I feel strongly that I didn’t start my journey towards recovery/management until I started trying to put my feelings into words.
Do you know what’s truly amazing about sharing how you feel with people you trust? So often you realise you are not the only one! I found out that people I had know for a long time, had also suffered with depression at some point in their lives. I have a friend who I have been fighting the battle alongside because I opened up to her and she opened up to me.
Lexi goes on to discuss 11 habits that you might notice in people with concealed depression. Number two was a definite for me; “they may have habitual remedies”. I definitely have my own remedies that I go to when things are rough or just when I want to prevent things becoming rough. She gave the examples of “music, exercise, dance, and walks…”. For me, it has to be listening to classical or uplifting music and colouring. I find these two really work for me and together, they are very powerful. I do wish exercise was my remedy though, then maybe I could kill two birds with one stone. Ha!
The habits that resonated with me were 1, 2, 5, 10 and 11. There are a couple more that I would’ve ticked two years ago if I’m honest. So I guess that is progress!
So, whether you are a sufferer/survivor or if you have a friend or family member who is struggling, this article is bound to shed some light on the behaviours of people with concealed depression. Go and check it out and let me know if any of it was relevant to you or someone you love.
I hope this slice of reality helps anyone suffering. Take care of yourselves.