Nine Paths That Lead To Perfectly Hidden Depression


  1. Interesting post. I can own four of these paths. I am past the point of hiding, have been for a long time. I do suspect that some of the perfectionism I see in people around me can be claimed by one or more of these. My biggest struggle now is balancing compassion for a mentally ill parent with self preservation. That has been a struggle for most of my adulthood.

    1. Wow I bet. I’m so glad you figured out that hiding wasn’t going to be a long-time solution. And dealing with a parent with serious mental illness is tough — setting boundaries especially while at the same time trying to remain compassionate. Thanks so much for responding.

  2. So, I just have to ask, and I’m serious, does everyone have Perfectly Hidden Depression? Because, it seems like everyone I know fits one or more of these 9 criteria. Is all of America depressed? Is that why we are struggling so as a nation at the moment?

    1. No I don’t think so. Many people may have trauma or loss in their background, or were given the message that emotional pain isn’t talked about. But there are healthy people and good families out there. And many folks are extremely resilient. These factors are the ones that came to light through my interviews. But PHD is only one of many responses that could exist. At least that’s my thinking.

    1. First, thank you for writing. I can see and hear you in my mind, given that I’ve talked to many people like you at this point. And like the others, I’m so sorry that you had to erect such a defense against the horrors in your life. I’ve realized that the hiding can have both a conscious, intentional beginning, but also can be so well-entrenched that it becomes an unconscious, automatic response. You describe that eloquently and painfully. I hadn’t thought of the high functioning as further trauma, but I can understand that. In the book I’m writing on PHD, I’m talking about the process of unmasking being a deconstructive process, where you very very carefully take small steps to open up, to risk feeling vulnerable. It sounds like you get close to that with your therapist, but haven’t been able to do so as of yet. In my own patients, I see their struggle with the commitment to try to change. It’s very frightening for them. Thank you for telling us your story. I’d love to talk with you in person, if you feel that that would be helpful to you. My email is askdrmargaret@ . Perhaps you could talk about it with your therapist.

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