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16 Ways People Hide the Fact That They're Depressed

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Just like any other mental illness, depression looks different for everyone. Not everyone who’s struggling with depression looks sad or upset, distraught and unmotivated. Sometimes depression hides behind different masks — like the “high-functioning” mask, the “happy in public” mask or the “quiet” mask.

That is why we asked our Mighty mental health community to share with us ways they hide the fact that they’re depressed. Depression isn’t just what you see on the outside, and it’s important to acknowledge that everyone — no matter what signs and symptoms they experience — deserves support and understanding.

Here is what they had to say:

1. Laughter

“I do everything I can to make others laugh. I know what it’s like to feel nothing at all, so I want to make sure no one around me feels that way.” — Sabrina D.

“I laugh at everything. It’s mostly fake, but people don’t know that because I hide it. Everyone always compliments me on how bubbly I am. Little do they know most the time it’s not that.” — Alyssa B.

2. Getting Dressed Up

“Dress to the nines! Full makeup, cute outfit I feel confident in, movie star sunglasses, smile and ‘get into character.’ Strangely, this legitimately helps improve my mood and also stops any comments that would make me more depressed like, ‘Wow, you look tired! Are you sick?’ Those comments are the worst when I already feel down.” — Jen L.

“I use makeup to hide how I feel and I go to work and make people happy.” — Alexandria B.

3. Telling People “I’m OK”

“When I’m asked how I’m doing, I let people know that I’m well. I keep a lot to myself.” — Tatauq M.

4. Complimenting People

“Complimenting people. If I seem like I’m in a good mood, people will think I am.” — Lauren F.

5. Humor

“I make a lot of joke to try to make people smile. Normally, the more positive I am around people the worse I am inside.” — Paul S.

“I have clinical acute PTSD, as well as being severely bipolar. I use humor to mask my pains and aches. If I feel awful and I’m out in public, I’m smiling and cracking jokes and making others feel at ease. It’s only later on, at home, that I cry into a pillow.” — Mina L.

“I laugh and make jokes constantly. People think it’s because I’m actually happy, but really, I use humor and sarcasm as a defense mechanism to hide the fact that behind it, I feel like I am falling apart at the seams.” — Rachael T.

6. Avoiding Socializing/Isolating

“I’m an extrovert, but I don’t socialize as often as I would like. Mostly to hide the fact that I’m broke because I’m on disability and my mental illness prevents me from showering most days or even brushing my teeth. Usually I’d rather sleep than put in the effort to go out and socialize.” — Hailey T.

“I hide in my house and make excuses regularly as to why I can’t leave.” — Carrie M.

7. Telling People You’re Sick

“I say I am sick all the time to get out of things to isolate.” — Amanda H.

8. Anger

“I close myself off from everyone and act upset and angry so people will leave me alone.” — Krystina M.

9. Smiling

“I smile. Usually the worse I feel the more I smile. Because no one thinks you can be depressed if you’re smiling.” — Jill A.

“Just by doing things and putting a smile on my face. Trying so hard to care about others and not myself.” — Bethany L.

10. Only Posting Your “Highlights” on Social Media

“Only posting good things on Facebook and not much about my depression, though that is changing in recent weeks. I’m trying to be an advocate for myself and others with mental health issues, so I don’t hide it as much anymore.” — Victoria L.

11. Alcohol

“In social situations I drink and go wild, [I] need the alcohol to hide the pain first though. At home, I focus on anything but myself.” — Stacey W.

12. Lying

“I lie and and act. I don’t want the confrontations of others, so I am happy when I need to engage in conversation out and about. I’ve been complimented on my sunny disposition before. I didn’t have the heart to say the moments I actually feel sunny are few and far between.” — Sarah S.

13. Being Cheerful Around Others

“I am very outgoing and happy all the time. I make sure people around me are smiling and laughing. I always close myself off because I don’t want people to know the biggest battle I deal with every day is myself.” — Skye Y.

“I change to my manic phase with upbeat music and do my best to mimic everyone else’s mood around me (being and empath helps that), yet then it’s only in doses after too much stimuli trying to ‘fake it till I make it.’ — Knowledge L.

14. Socializing

“Still showing up to work and events even though I am literally exhausted and just want to hide out in bed.” — Megan F.

15. Sarcasm

“I’m very sarcastic, and always try to make everyone laugh. If they’re laughing, they don’t notice I’m not.” — Sara R.

16. Focusing on Other People

“My goal has always been to be there for others and make others as happy and content as possible. I focus my negative thoughts and depressive feelings on making others lives better. Terrible coping skill, but no one knew really what I was dealing with or how I felt until recently. I finally said forget it, I’m letting the flood gate open and I’m doing for me as I do for others.” — Heather F.

Getty image via Rohappy

Originally published: April 30, 2018
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