Can Perfectly Hiding Depression Lead to Suicide?

I've been writing for five years about what I term perfectly hidden depression -- when you're leading a perfect-looking life and not a soul recognizes that you're carrying around a tremendous amount of silent despair.

Maybe not even you recognize it, until you see the term. And perhaps you begin to wonder if you should tune in to that tiny voice in your gut that signals something's not right, something hurts more than you're letting on.

The Loneliness and Shame of Feeling Invisible: How to Find Your Voice

A lot of people feel invisible. And for many different reasons.

What do I mean by “feeling invisible?” Like you don’t matter. As if you aren’t a vital part of things. As if you are being overlooked or seen only for what you can do instead of for who you are. You're an object -- not a real human being. Shame can whisper to you that you're not worth as much as others -- that you aren't acceptable, or welcome, or important. Your invisibility can begin to define you.

Confronting Perfectly Hidden Depression

Is A Family Really Perfect? Or Is Their Support Conditional?

"I had a perfect childhood."

"All of my family is so close."

"People call us the perfect family."

Whenever I hear statements like the ones above, I begin to get nervous. And I think about people I've worked with who've said similar things, only later to discover  what "perfect" really meant.

Everything looked happy and normal on the outside, while on the inside, there were unspoken rules of what you couldn't do or who you shouldn't be.

Confronting Perfectly Hidden Depression

The Catch 22 of Perfectionism. Do or Don’t Do — There’s Shame Waiting for You

I was in therapy a good deal in my twenties.

Most of the work had to do with perfectionism and shame.

Someone along the way suggested I read a short, little book called, "How To Be Your Own Best Friend." Its format was easy -- a conversation between two therapists about growing out of your childhood and becoming an emotionally mature person, who is supportive and loving toward themselves. Whichever therapist it was realized that I'd very easily slip into a harsh, critical place in my head, hearing a shaming voice that told me almost constantly what I could've done better -- how I should be thinner, nicer, more successful.

My own critical thoughts were often my worst enemy. Sound familiar?

Confronting Perfectly Hidden Depression

How To Learn To Respond — Not React. Making the Unconscious, Conscious.

I got in a snit yesterday.

You could call it a hissy fit.

Whatever you call it, it wasn’t pretty. I was totally over-reacting to what was going on.  I knew what I was saying and doing didn’t make a bit of sense, but I was sticking to my guns. I fueled the fire of illogical thoughts with heavy sighs and a dramatic stomping off into another room. I wanted to make sure my husband knew how pissed off I was -- as if that was unclear.

Confronting Perfectly Hidden Depression

Six Hurdles For A Perfectionist Who Wants To Change

Let's say you're a self-identified perfectionist.  You've read about perfectly hidden depression (PHD) and you identify with it. You've taken the questionnaire and scored fairly high. You've either contacted a therapist or you've decided to take the bull by the horns and begin to risk some changes yourself.

What could potentially get in your way of getting better? What are potential stumbling blocks to commitment you might encounter along the way?