You are not crazy: Ten characteristics of perfectly hidden depression

No one suspects anything is wrong. Yet you’re the person who might kill yourself, and no one would know why.

- Margaret Rutherford author of Perfectly Hidden Depression

I lived in this liminal state of “is it a mental illness?” and “you are a mean, lean, achieving machine” for most of my life. My half-assed attempts at getting help were just that. Half-assed. I got sent home with happy pills and a pat in the back. Said pills would end up in the garbage within months.

I chose my angst. It was better than feeling nothing.

For someone who lives in this state, labels can be such a relief. Perfectionism doesn’t quite do it. Simply put — if your perfectionism doesn’t lead to suicidal thoughts, we are not talking about the same experience.

Hence my relief when I learned about PERFECTLY HIDDEN DEPRESSION (PHD for short). PHD is not a clinical diagnosis but it is a set of characteristics that when they appear together…well, you are kinda fucked.

These are the 10 characteristics of PHD:

  1. Inner voice is constant, critical and shaming
  2. Excessive sense of responsibility
  3. Stays in their head to avoid emotions
  4. Need to control yourself and your environment
  5. Uses accomplishments to feel valuable
  6. Doesn’t allow others in their inner world
  7. Struggle with self-compassion, dismisses their own pain and struggle
  8. May have other mental health issues: eating disorder, anxiety, addiction
  9. Believes strongly in counting your blessings as the foundation of well-being
  10. May enjoy success within a professional structure but struggle with emotional intimacy in relationships

How many sound familiar to you? It’s not exactly the quiz I wanted to ace, but naming the thing is the first step.

This post was created with Typeshare




I write about the emotional courage it takes to start a thing…from the lens of an extreme perfectionist

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Carolina Chanis

Carolina Chanis

I write about the emotional courage it takes to start a thing…from the lens of an extreme perfectionist

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