Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Depression: Why I hide.

A few weeks ago my husband and I were talking about depression.  It’s interesting, we agreed, how it seems easier for someone in the pit to lean on a cyber-friend, or a distant friend, or anyone other than the people that love them in their own homes.

I'll come out when I'm ready.
I nodded along with him, and agreed. That is my tendency as well. I feel this way for a few reasons, I explained:

 1.  I’d rather appear weak to anyone else on the planet other than my husband.  2. He won’t understand, not in a personal, experiential way. He’s never been in this pit. I want to talk to someone who understands.

Then a few days later, the pit snuck up on me again, and I remembered. (How could I have forgotten?) I remembered that there are 2 other very important reasons that I try to hide myself from my dear husband when I am depressed.

1.  The rage.
How did I forget about the rage?
I’ve said before, my depression tends to be severe but short-lived. This helps me (sometimes) identify the symptoms. 

For example,
Monday morning, in the before school rush, I might think, “Wow this is a busy morning! I wish my husband would help with breakfast… well, then again, he’s been sick and spent all night coughing. I can handle it. I’ll ask a big kid to help me instead.”

Tuesday morning, in the same situation, I think “I want to know when the &*$ it was decided that I would do all the $##$% work in the morning while HE gets to sit and watch the #$$#@ news!?!?” I work in tears and anger and explain myself to nobody.

One of my warning signs- when I think in expletives. Not typical for me. And I know I’m not being reasonable.  I simply can’t be reasonable. I try to stuff it and wait until the fog clears, so I can see  whether or not my problem is something that warrants a rational discussion or not.

If I open those floodgates, he will get hurt.

2. The vulnerability

If I’m going to hurt him, he’s going to react in some way. And I can’t really imagine a reaction that will not add to my own pain.  See, when I am angry and hateful and depressed like this, hating myself and him and everything, I am also SO INCREDIBLY VULNERABLE. I know; this makes no sense.

If he realizes what is going on and humors me, I will feel like I am being treated like a child. I will get even angrier with him. (I blame my depressed ears.)

If he defends himself, he will mostly likely be right!  Then, I will crumble under the weight of my own sin and selfishness. But I’m already doing that. I can’t handle any more weight.

His words could utterly destroy me.  And then what?

Since my trips to the pit seem to last no more than a day or two, waiting for the fog to clear seems to be a good strategy for me. I will tell him I’m fighting depression.  I will NOT talk about the &*%$  dog  or helping with breakfast.  Not yet. But I warned him this time, just in case the floodgates do open someday when I am still in the fog.  I gave him a pre-emptive apology. J

Friends who understand, what do you do? Hide or confide?

If you haven't taken the survey yet, please click here!
The responses have been very helpful!


  1. can't seem to get my words around what I want to say- but I feel EXACTLY the same way....its much easier talking to someone via the internet than in person. In person makes me feel anxious. Adds to my problems.

    And in regards to the husband thing...I hesitate to tell him how I'm feeling, but at the same time, wish he could sense how I feel and help me through it. What a double standard, huh?

    1. Exactly, Mary. They CANNOT win. (i think I'll be posting more on this soon... )

      And yes, in person is horrible, rage aside! For one thing, because who knows if I'll be able to hold it together or not!!!

  2. Hide, hide, and more hiding. He knows I get irritated sometimes, but he really has no idea what is going on.

    Thank you for this post. I really had no idea that the rage was part of something bigger.

    1. It may be. It is so hard to sort all of that out, isn't it?

      It is OK to take the risk and talk (or EMAIL him if you are a wimp like me!)

      Also, I cam accross this today- If you think you might be struggling with depression and that you might want to see a doctor, this quiz may be helpful:

      I'm no authority... but I took it myself and it did confirm what I already know about me!
      Prayer for you Sarah.

  3. I talk about it, but usually in a way that is more self-depreciating to myself than attacking toward him. I don't know if this is any better than hiding. I know clear communication is important, but I also know my down times are usually not directly related toward him - they are deep internal struggles that I know if I don't talk about, the bottle will get fuller and fuller until it explodes.

    So appreciative that you are willing to put yourself in the "weak" limelight and yet be such a light and inspiration to others. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Yes, I do that sometimes too (the self depreciating.) Sometimes I know how ridiculous I sound. Other times I believe those awful things about myself SO strongly that I can't say them out loud... because if he even hints that they might be true... would I survive?!

      So glad for grace, and spouses that can speak grace into this dark place. May God uphold us, and those that love us, too!

  4. Such good words as you open your heart. Someone who understands is critical for listening, etc. On the other hand, I have found that I can’t engage in a group discussion with depressed people; that opens another pit and sense of helplessness. But the one person who has been there, done that, and can even remember it, yeah, that can be helpful. But it can’t be someone who is in the pit right now. We both wallow in the muck.

    Rage: Such a good term. I think this is critical, because many have the sense that if a person is depressed, they are emotionally flat and can’t express emotions... if they only knew, anger and rage are very common to depressed people, but the mechanisms for dealing with it are the stuffing of the emotions.

    Another thought on this: the spouse is also vulnerable. Because he (she) hasn’t been there, he (she) can’t see the road map of what is happening. It’s like walking in a minefield without the map of where they are located or knowing what kind of mines are there.

    Your question is spot on: My reaction for 49 years had been to hide. My tendency is still that. But God has been working over the last 14 years not confide, and now even with my wife.

    1. You are so right. I think I will address some of these things in future posts. We do have to confide... but it sure is messy!

      Like you, I am learning that the world does not end if I confide in people close to me. (If I hadn't learned that already, i certainly couldn't blog about it!) But it is so scary sometimes!
      May God uphold us, and those that love us, too!

  5. I stuff and I stuff and I hide, and hide some more. Today is one of those days. I'm so angry. It's not uncommon for me to experience the same things you shared. "Thinking in expletives." Been there, done that. Today even. Writing letters to Hubby is usually what I get around to doing. But today it all seems without purpose. A useless effort. I know tomorrow will be different. I'm thankful for that.

  6. Sounds like yours might come on short and severe like mine? I guess the good side of that is that you do sort of know that it will lift, probably even tomorrow. So why get into it today? I know just what you mean. I tell myself to wait 2 days (if there is something bothering me regarding my husband that seems like the end of the world...) and talk to him about it THEN, if it still seems so awful. It never does.

    by the way , I wish I could kick depression's ass for you :)

  7. When I was depressed I hid it because I was ashamed of it. I had so many things to be happy and thankful for that I was ashamed to be depressed. Christians are supposed to be able to handle stuff! I still get depressed some days but it is mostly because of my daughter's health problems. I don't hide it anymore. Your posts are very thought provoking. Thank you!

    1. Oh Sylvia, I hate depression for you and with you! Praying for you today! and your daughter too!

  8. Hey,Depression sucks.It's the vampire of maladies.It covers up in plain sight,holding up to jump.You don't hear it impending.It's excessively quick and astute for that.It sinks its teeth into your mind,depleting your confidence,your energy levels and your feeling of self-esteem.
    how to treat depression


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