Friday, 15 August 2014

People hiding their feelings

Sadness - picture by Michelle Jones
There's been a lot of publicity over Robin Williams' death this week, and some of what I read said something along the lines that he hid his broken heart from people. I don't know the ins and outs of that particular situation, but it's brought an awareness of depression and how people hide it. We've probably heard of a situation where someone committed suicide having hid their grief from people.

Men, of course, are particularly prone to hiding their true feelings - there must be plenty of men suffering from depression and their friends and family don't know. But some women as well hide their feelings. I wonder what the exact reason for this is. Maybe it varies from person to person. I know that men often don't like appearing weak. But isn't it strange that men can act like total wimps when it comes to physical illness, but try and act strong and hide their mental pain?

I personally could not do this. Maybe it's partly due to having two breakdowns in the past - I still find emotional pain very hard to deal with, to an extent, and find it hard if not impossible to keep it to myself. Hopefully the days of ranting about it on Facebook are over, but I am glad that I have at least one or two friends who I can confide in now. Sometimes, men are so damned stubborn and don't like asking for help .. but really there is no shame in doing so. What have you got to lose?

Perhaps it's self-image - and this goes for whether you're a woman or a man - you may think that people have an image of you as a strong, positive person. Maybe if you told a friend or family member, they would be shocked to know you were depressed. But remember, depression is no respecter of people. Anybody, no matter what their bank balance, relationship status, social status and possessions - could potentially suffer from depression or go through a rough patch. It's become an expectation of society that you should stay strong and positive, and 'keep going' - but there's only so long you can do this for, before you go over the edge.

What I really want to emphasize is that there's nothing wrong with admitting you need help. I hate hearing of cases where people suffer in silence, without feeling they can tell anyone. Maybe, in some cases, it's pride. But it can be scary to tell someone how you feel, as you don't know how they'll react - even though most people, I would hope, would react with compassion. It's probably better if you can tell a trusted friend or a therapist - I reserve the word 'doctor' from the list as I don't like the pill prescribing that goes on these days .. although doctors probably have their hands tied behind their backs by Big Pharma to an extent. But if the doctor can help you obtain counselling, that might be a great way forward.

What is important to know is that it's unhealthy to hide your emotions. This could manifest in the form of physical illness later on. The worst thing you can do when you are grieving, is to hold the feelings in and pretend everything's okay. What will then happen is that the pain gets lodged somewhere in the subconscious. It's also unhealthy to fight against the pain and treat it as an enemy. 'What you resist persists' is the best way to explain that.

Admitting you're sad doesn't sit comfortably with much of society. People like to see a positive, upbeat person with a smile. Many people give the impression on Facebook that their life is great. I'm not saying you should constantly upload your drama on people, without any desire to get better. I used to know someone who did this, and it became very tiresome. Becoming friends with your sadness and emotional pain is a key towards recovery - it is there for a reason. It's not something that wants to be pushed away or hidden. Please don't suffer in silence - tell someone about it. I will leave you with this brilliant quote I saw today:

"I was held back on some aspects because I thought the pain would kill me, but the pain of recovery was never as bad as the pain of living broken. Unfortunately, we don’t know that for sure until we are on the other side of broken.
and then I thought that if I ventured forward but didn’t succeed, that the pain of another failure would kill me. So I hesitated about moving forward." Neither of these fears came to pass. The pain of "Just surviving" was worse than any pain I have ever endured ~ Darlene Ouimet - her page on Facebook is called Emerging from Broken


  1. Great post Andy, and so very true. I think my dad had depression he hid it behind a smile also, but I could tell in his eyes, in his quiet moments a lot was going on inside. As you know I have known people who tried to commit suicide and some quite close to me. I know people who are so loaded up on pharmaceutical drugs they are unaware that its making depression worse. I find it impossible to keep my emotion in, as the years go by I just can't keep it in, it overflows when it needs to. I think my dads oversized heart was a reaction to withheld emotional pain.


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