- Do you often feel sad even though you have a lot to be thankful for?
- Do you find it difficult to cry for fear of looking weak?
- Do you often stop expressing your thoughts because you don’t know how others will react?
- Do you feel mentally and physically exhausted when finally on your own and don’t have to put on a brave face?
If you said yes to any of these questions you may have what’s called ‘Perfectly Hidden Depression.’
This term ‘Perfectly Hidden Depression (PHD)’ has been recently coined by Dr Margaret Rutherford – a psychologist practising in the US. I believe many people have PHD as it’s not easy to detect because people often appear ‘fine’ even though they aren’t.
As a deaf person, people may congratulate you for coping so well in the hearing world. Especially if you can talk or have some degree of hearing with specialist devices. It’s times like these you may smile outside to the ‘compliment’ but feel yourself sink inside. You keep doing this as it’s the only coping mechanism you know.
Something awful may have happened because of your deafness but you pretend it didn’t occur. By doing so all your energy goes into maintaining this façade whilst inside you can’t quite figure out why you’re not happy.
According to Dr Margaret Rutherford there are two ways a person may have PHD.
The first group are fully aware of what’s going on and know they hide it to not show vulnerability or pain.
The second group sometimes realise something is wrong but ignore it by focusing on other peoples’ needs more whilst not allowing others in. This then becomes second nature.
Both groups build up walls between themselves and others in their lives.
Whatever group you fit into you have to recognise that now is the time to stop. You are only hurting yourself in the long run.
You need to learn self care and realise that saying the word ‘no’ is not a bad thing. Particularly if you are a people pleaser always putting others first and never yourself. (Do you notice how these people take and take until you become exhausted either physically or mentally? If you do you are a people pleaser.)
It can and will take a while to break down these walls you feel you’ve had to build.
Being deaf isn’t easy but pretending it’s not for the sake of others is harder still.
Please take five minutes out to look after yourself mentally and talk to someone you trust about your problems.
You will thank me for it one day. I know as I’ve been there myself.
For more information look at the following links.
Dr Margaret Rutherford’s Perfectly Hidden Depression test:
Psychologies article ‘Are you secretly depressed?’:
Alternatively speak to your doctor or contact a counselling service like Samaritans.
You can contact Samaritans by text message on the number 07725 90 90 90 if you feel you that things are getting to you.
Lianne Herbert is a deaf professional writer who can be followed on Twitter here. Lianne is also on a Copywriting course to enhance her freelance prospects. She is currently involved with the West Yorkshire Playhouse on a Playwright course.
The Limping Chicken is the world's most popular Deaf blog, and is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne.
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