How Concealed Depression May Be Harmful To Your Health

By: Tanisha Herrin

Updated May 19, 2020

Medically Reviewed By: Aaron Horn

People may recognize symptoms of depression in others. Many times however, people may show no signs at all they are struggling emotionally. Someone who is hiding depression likely experiences fatigue, social withdrawal, and extreme sadness while giving the impression that things are fine and they are in control of their lives. Some go about their day with a smile, knowing they feel miserable on the inside.

Concealing Depression Can Be More Harmful Than You Think
Talk To Us, We're Here - Speak With A Licensed Therapist Online Today.


Also known as smiling depression or walking depression, people may deny or ignore their feelings while not wanting others to know they are hurting. Unfortunately, if you continue to keep these feelings to yourself without seeking help, your health may be at risk. Here is what you need to know about potential health risks from concealing depression symptoms.

Suppressing Your Emotions May Become Habit Forming

Hiding your emotions may lead to an unhealthy habit of keeping things to yourself. Such actions may have an overall negative effect on your emotional wellbeing. Instead of letting go, the feelings get stronger and won't go away. Many are reluctant to release their emotions because they are used to holding them in. Sometimes it may be appropriate to hide your feelings until you feel you feel safe enough to release them to someone who cares.

Some who hide their emotions may think they are not important or worry that others may see it as a weakness. People do what they think is necessary to avoid unwanted comments and opinions from others. When you're emotionally hurting what matters is taking appropriate steps to get support from people that care. Doing so gets you on the right path to handling symptoms of depression with healthy habits encouraging positive coping skills.

Keeping Things Bottled Up May Lead To Explosive Behavior

People may develop emotional issues and anger when keeping feelings of depression to themselves. Some grow bitter, triggering other emotions that may lead to unhealthy thoughts, feelings, and actions. Others may notice you're uneasiness and may not attribute it to depression. Such behaviors may lead to unhealthy relationships with friends and family. Others may keep their distance away to avoid being yelled at.

To avoid letting your emotions be in control, open up by letting them out. There are productive ways to encourage sharing personal feelings to help you let go without hurting yourself or others in the process. In some cases, bottled up emotions leading to explosive forms of anger may signal anger issues to be assessed by a mental health specialist.

Feelings Of Loneliness Intensify

Depression brings feelings of loneliness, but when hiding your feelings from others, the feeling gets stronger. Concealed feelings leave people not wanting to talk about what they are feeling. They don't want others to sense something is wrong, so it's easier to keep things inside. Many find it easier to withdrawal from others to avoid confronting their feelings. Other inner struggles that become apparent when dealing with loneliness include thoughts and feelings, such as:

  • It's not okay for others to know about their depression to keep from being labeled weak.
  • You should avoid letting others know your true feelings, so you don't bring down their mood.
  • There is nothing to complain about, and nothing is seriously wrong, so why bother?
  • Others are better off if you're not around.


Someone hiding their feelings of depression may lead a normal life but purposely keep from engaging in social situations. They may push their feelings aside or feel impatient with themselves because of what they are feeling.

Your Physical Wellness Is At Risk

Symptoms of hidden depression include fatigue, lack of focus, and loss of interest in activities. Some experience sadness to a point where they experience an upset stomach, diarrhea, aches, anxiety, and other physical complications. The symptoms are a result of the body trying to relieve increasing pressure. A person may get so depressed they literally make themselves sick.

Holding your feelings inside for too long becomes an extremely uncomfortable situation for your body. Added strain and stress may weaken the immune system, making it more challenging for the body to fight off germs. Your body may become vulnerable to chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. If you have such conditions, already your related symptoms may worsen or grow complex in nature.

The Fluctuation Of Energy Due To Changes In Sleep Habits

Getting too much or too little sleep is a warning sign of depression. someone concealing their feelings may feel tired, and having low energy levels. Insomnia or wanting to stay in bed most of the day isn't out of the question. Sometimes it is difficult to fall asleep at night knowing something is bothering you while trying to ignore it.

While energy may affect a person's ability to complete tasks it may also affect the type of energy they display when around others. It may take more to act as if nothing is wrong or to pretend things are fine. If you lack sleep and energy, it may lead to expressing negative energy such as feeling bitter and acting cranky around others.

Eating Habits Become Questionable

Lack of appetite or eating too much is common with depression. When hiding your feelings, it may turn into poor eating habits. Sometimes people hid their emotions by using food as comfort. Others may discipline themselves by choosing not to eat when upset with their emotions. Eating habits may be all over the place from skipping meals to consuming large amounts of unhealthy foods. Such actions may lead to sudden weight gain or weight loss like what is experienced with eating disorders. When someone doesn't care about their feelings or tries to hide them, their perception of food may change.

Substance Abuse May Occur

Using drugs and alcohol to deal with emotions may lead to addiction, physical harm, and irreversible damage. Mental health experts suggest avoiding these substances because they affect personal judgment, and they don't mix with prescription medications. Alcohol is a common choice for someone suffering from depression. Unfortunately, it is a central nervous system depressant and may make emotions even worse. Many street drugs have the same effect. Both drugs and alcohol may lead to escalating emotions in social settings leading to physical or emotional conflict. For someone who is depressed or hiding their symptoms, they may experience bodily damage such as liver disease or heart failure if substance abuse exists on a continued basis.

Concealing Depression Can Be More Harmful Than You Think
Talk To Us, We're Here - Speak With A Licensed Therapist Online Today.


Risk Of Harm To Yourself Or Others Increases

Someone hiding their depression may experience feelings of despair and worthlessness. They may feel so hopeless they don't want to talk to anyone about it. Such feelings left to intensify may lead to suicide. Some experts believe suicide is more likely in someone with concealed depression instead of someone with major depression. A person with concealed depression may act on an urge to harm themselves with more energy than someone with major depression. If you mix substance abuse or anger issues along with these feelings, physical harm to others is likely in certain situations such as arguments or physical confrontations with or without a weapon.

Someone Close To You May Be Able To Help From Personal Experience

You may miss an important opportunity by someone you know to help you deal you're your feelings. Many are quick to assume others will not understand their feelings, and they will be judged if they say anything about their depression. Hiding your feelings may keep you from getting useful advice and emotional support from someone that knows what you are going through. Your emotions are a reminder that you are a human being, and it is okay to express them. You are not the only person with these feelings. Your emotions allow you to feel different types of feelings. It is up to you to make informed decisions about how to control them productively.

Not only is your health at risk, but personal and workplace relationships are also at risk. Talking with a friend you trust is a great place to start. A good friend or family member that cares about you will be glad you opened up to them. They may suggest things you can do to help you cope while being a part of your support circle. Since millions of people deal with depression daily, you never know what you may learn about others you care about when opening up to share your emotional pain.

Help Is Available For Concealed Depression

Talking about your feelings with someone you trust is an important step to overcome hiding your depression. Start getting into the habit of doing something productive to cope with your feelings. While it may seem hard to talk about your feelings, writing them down in a journal is helpful. You can share what you wrote with someone you trust or a professional such as a counselor or therapist. Working with a licensed mental health professional may assist with identifying thoughts and beliefs related to your depression.


Other tools and resources to consider include physical exercise, mindfulness skills, meditation, local or online support groups, and online therapy options. Ignoring or hoping your depression symptoms will go away on their own isn't recommended. Concealed depression symptoms are treatable. You'll be able to cope with new skills and an improved outlook that will give you a reason to smile on the inside and outside.

Previous Article

How The Depression Stigma Hurts Society

Next Article

Chemical Imbalances Can Contribute To Depression: Neurotransmitters And Their Role
You Don’t Have To Face Depression Alone. Our Experienced Counselors Can Help.
Get Help & Support With Depression Today
The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.