Concealed depression has been my life.
I have racked up 43+ years of hiding my depression, even from myself. This has led me to jump through hoops and do all kinds of crazy shenanigans to keep it hidden. From ignoring it to justifying it by using an unhelpful thinking style, I have lived with depression for my entire adult life. It turns out, my way of dealing with depression is atypical, but not uncommon.
I have found five names for my relationship with depression.
- Perfectly Hidden Depression
- Concealed Depression
- Hidden Depression
- Masked Depression
- High Functioning Depression
I read an article this morning about concealed depression.
One of the article’s bullet points jumped out at me. “wow, that’s me” I thought to myself.
In addition, concealed depression is believed by some to take the form of compulsive-type behaviors, such as becoming a workaholic.
My recent days are beginning to feel like my years with concealed depression.
Getting to work and being successful there is my routine. Being in the moment, my at-home time is slipping into the “I don’t have time for this” category. I know this is not good. Making so much progress last fall, did I set my sights too high? Am I expecting results that I am not ready for?
How can I let myself slip back into the world of concealed depression?
Having come so far in my understanding of depression and my relationship with it, I am saddened that I cannot do better. My mornings are a dull, lifeless plod towards going to “work” where my mind turns on 43 years of living with concealed depression.
I am safe from depression at my day job.
READ MORE: Can I tell you the truth?
While I know it impacts me there, too, my relationship with it is different. I get to oversee most of my interactions and my attitude towards events that occur during each day. My ideas rule, and I make decisions within company policy. Having the structure of these corporate goals gives me a way to keep depression at bay.
Depression’s ideas for me can be ignored because I am responsible for the company, the employees and the shareholders.
Depression has accepted this relationship most of the time. Oh, it still wants to run things. And it still wants me to be under its total control, secretly doing its bidding. But depression is also pragmatic and will accept any little thing it can get when it cannot get all of me. Even if it is a very tiny drain, of little consequence to my life, it relishes the opportunity to have me circle any drain.
At my day job, these interactions with depression are generally minor.
They come and go rapidly, not leaving me stuck and unable to move forward. Having hidden my depression for so many years, I have 100 ways to get around these depressive thoughts WHILE AT WORK and get my mind refocuses on the task at hand.
Being a workaholic is a compulsive-behavior.
Taking the time to think about that statement, I would have to say that is true. My day job is an escape from reality. Now there have been days where I have practiced living in the moment at work. This has made my relationship with employees stronger. Incorporating what I am learning has made me more effective as a manager.
And I am not married to my day job.
Well, I have said that ever since I decided to come out of retirement and re-enter the workforce. My motto about returning to work has been “it is different this time.” But I am not so sure it really is. Recently, I am feeling that I am slipping into old habits and depression is filling all my non-work hours. Since November, I have written extensively about my inability to get out of bed and get started in the morning.
When I am gentle with myself, I allow this behavior
As I think more about what I could be doing, I get mad as hell. Why can’t I advocate for myself with my Psychiatrist? Why can I not have the conversations needed to clearly demonstrate what I am facing day after day after day?
READ MORE: Who is running this show?
Whether it is concealed, hidden, perfectly hidden, masked, or high functioning, my depression is still alive.
Learning how to minimize depression’s role in my life has been my mission for 10 months. I have gobbled up everything I can read, have taken courses to better my relationship with depression and am learning how to have a wellness recovery action plan for when things are not on track.
Facing my depression in the workplace and the relative safety it provides is something I must do if I am to live a balanced life with depression.
My concealed depression is written under the alias “Depression is not my boss.” I have certifications in SMART Recovery and am a Global Career Development Facilitator.
Last year, I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder.