The song says that it’s the “most wonderful time of the year.”
But all the smiles and cheers can be a false front for all the struggles we’re facing. All the lights and decorations cover up the sadness and negativity. You can even be surrounded by family and friends while still feeling isolated and lonely.
Society will tell you that you need to be happy and that there’s no reason to be depressed. So of course you don’t want to show the signs of weakness and struggle.
Depression is real and you and your loved ones shouldn’t be afraid to confront it with help.
But how can you identify that you or a loved one are struggling with depression? What are some signs of masked depression?
One of the ways we mask depression is by acting cheerful. The more negative we feel, the more likely we are to try to present ourselves as cheerful. This could look like being more outgoing than normal, making more jokes, or laughing louder and longer than anyone else. But the problem is that the artificial cheerfulness we are using, leaves us feeling empty and more hollow than before.
A Hyper-Focus on Productivity
The holidays are a busy time, but masked depression can make the busy-ness even busier. When we feel depressed we often distract ourselves. We think that if we can keep busy enough, we won’t have time to feel lonely, hurt, or depressed. But the suppressed struggles will build up over time, and if we continue to try to bury them in productivity we will eventually collapse under the physical and mental strain.
Which brings us to the physical aspect of masked depression. When we hide our emotions and bury them, our bodies are still honest. Our mental health wears down our physical health and can cause us chronic pain, headaches, stomach and gut problems, and even problems sleeping.
Coping with depression isn’t something you do alone. If you or your loved one is showing these signs of depression this holiday season, please seek help. At Rising Sun Counseling Center, we are always ready to listen. In fact, if there is one thing we’d like for you to remember it’s this: our offices are places of comfort where you can sit down, relax, and pour out all your stress on someone who will listen to you and care about you without judgment. If that sounds like something you’d like to experience, come sit by our fireplace and let’s chat.