When Depression Hides in Plain Sight.

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“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” ~ Wendy Mass

~

Kurt Cobain. Alexander McQueen. Junior Seau. L’Wren Scott.

David Foster Wallace. Chris Cornell.

Robin Williams. Kate Spade. Anthony Bourdain.

Depression clearly doesn’t care if you are a celebrity. It doesn’t care who you are, how much money you have, or what you do. It doesn’t care about your accomplishments or whether you have “everything to live for.” It doesn’t care if you have kids.

It doesn’t care if you are homeless or if you live in a mansion. It doesn’t care about the love of your family, your friends, or your fans.

Depression smirks when good, kindhearted people say things like “just snap out of it,” or “stop being so sad, what do you have to be sad about?” Depression scoffs when people say it’s simply “mind over matter,” and it should “be easy to chase it away if you just try to look at the bright side.”

The only easy thing about depression is that it’s easy to hide. We can pretend that all is well for the world outside, when deep down within ourselves we are struggling with feelings we don’t understand or communicate. We can fake being happy and connected, even when we know that pieces of our puzzle are missing. We can hide our depression in plain sight, because we don’t want others to worry.

For those of us who suffer, the different abuses we employ tell the same story of our shared human condition, which is a constant craving for those “hits” of dopamine and serotonin and the aftereffects of being “high” that are wonderful, but far too short-lived and mean nothing later when our darkest, lowest thoughts return and we are left needing more.

Our abuses are about chasing a feeling. We turn to food, to alcohol, to drugs. We turn to shopping, gambling, and sex. Many of us develop addictions, and many of us mask our need for relief by outwardly pretending to be fine. Or we simply become disengaged, and we don’t care about the effect our disengagement has on those we love. We always think we have things under control, but chasing and masking are reckless, ruthless behaviors that only propagate our disease.

Celebrities who take their own lives reveal a startling truth. Their deaths stun us because they seem to have everything they could possibly want and everything they’ve worked so hard for. Their suicides shine a glaring “reality check” spotlight on the fact that depression doesn’t care about what we have or what we show the world. It doesn’t care about our fronts, our captivating personalities, our intellect, or our success. It doesn’t care about our talent, artistry, or expression. It doesn’t care who we know, or where we’ve been, or what we look like, or how old we are.

Chronic depression just wants relief. It wants to take us under with it. It wants to drown. It wants a bullet. It wants a rope. It wants to bleed. It wants us to end the masking, the chasing, and the need.

It just wants relief from endless suffering at the hands of a monster who hides in plain sight.

~

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

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author: Kimberly Valzania

Image: Flickr/JoonHo Son

Image: Flickr/Dan Marsh

Image: Flickr/richcianci

Editor: Yoli Ramazzina

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The Elephant Ecosystem

Every time you read, share, comment or heart you help an article improve its Rating—which helps Readers see important issues & writers win $$$ from Elephant. Learn more.

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Kimberly Valzania

Kimberly Valzania practices mindful gratefulness. She is creatively driven to write about and share her personal experience and opinion on weight loss, fitness, life changes, adventures in parenting, day-to-day triumphs (and failures) and the truth-seeking struggle of simply being human. As words tumble out, they are sorted into cohesive piles and delivered via poetry and short essays. She knows that life is indeed a journey, and that precious moments appear like magic when you surrender, hold hands and fearlessly fling yourself into the great wide open.

Read more at her website.

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Bob A Bobbers Oct 4, 2018 3:23pm

Two things hit home: 1) when deep down within ourselves we are struggling with feelings we don’t understand or communicate; and, 2) We always think we have things under control, but chasing and masking are reckless, ruthless behaviors that only propagate our disease. You understand.

Galina Singer Jul 11, 2018 3:09pm

"Celebrities who take their own lives reveal a startling truth. Their deaths stun us because they seem to have everything they could possibly want and everything they’ve worked so hard for." - I would add to what you wrote so well here that celebrities reveal a startling truth, because they seem to have everything that We are told all of our lives we should want and that We work so hard for. We need to start teaching people that societal dogma has gotten us in a trap. What they tell us we should need to be happy is a lie, invented to sell us stuff we do not need. Many people are depressed because they work their whole lives for something that does not make them feel any better and that will never make them feel happy, because happiness lies elsewhere.

Bill Rugg Jul 10, 2018 11:42am

Yes.

Kim Wheeler Valzania Jul 10, 2018 11:39am

Yes, I agree. We DO care. We care, but we can't move.

Bill Rugg Jul 8, 2018 10:19pm

This is right on — and thank you, Kimberly. Every word you speak is right on for many. I would like to add this — that we disengage but often do care about the effect on those we love, we just don’t know how to engage, and that’s the difficulty as it leads to even more isolation and misunderstanding. We do care... thank you for this one —-we all could (and should) keep talking.. xx

Kim Wheeler Valzania Jul 8, 2018 4:25pm

https://www.elephantjournal.com/2017/03/depression-6-small-ways-to-battle-back/ 😊 Keep fighting.

Patty Riley Jul 8, 2018 2:24pm

Explains how many of us have depression. I was hoping for some insight on how to deal with it.

Kim Wheeler Valzania Jul 6, 2018 8:57pm

Agreed. So many people hide it. ❤️

Marilyn Regan Jul 6, 2018 4:03pm

Thank you for expressing the hidden characteristics of depression so well. It runs in my family so I can relate and it certainly takes a toll on those around the depressed individual who tends to withdraw.