Midlife moon joy

Midlife Mood?

“Their personalities aren’t dreary in the slightest. Those with concealed depression are some of the most charismatic people you know and are prone to having a sharp tongue and hyper-creative mind.”

From 15 Things You Must Know About People Who Have Concealed Depression

When I read these words recently in this article by Anna Bashkova, a chill of self-realization ran through me. How had I never heard “concealed depression” described in this way before? How did this stranger know me? How had she perfectly described my outward personality back when I very nearly succeeded in ending my life 35 years ago? I didn’t “act depressed” then. Nobody had any idea…until I ended up in a hospital ICU bed with my wrists restrained.

Approaching storm at home

Bashkova continues:

“Their biggest challenge is shutting off their brain. They’re able to process the world around them at rapid-fire speed – the good and the bad. It’s like their brain is a sponge soaking in everything, causing them to be hyper-aware and highly intuitive.”

Yep. Overthinking, on steroids. I can remember the endless, deafening loop of anxious second-guessing, hypercritical self-talk, and negative stories on tape that never turned off. They never stopped. Constant worry, faultfinding, and scathing chatter were agonizing tormenters. At 27, I didn’t feel “sad.” I felt…exhausted. Exhausted by a brain that wouldn’t shut up. Exhausted from continuously swimming against a tide of self-criticism and fear of not measuring up. Exhausted from struggling to stay afloat as relentless waves of doubt tugged me under. Exhausted from faking confidence and strength. Dying was a way to finally rest and be at peace.

Full moon from my balcony

“Am I concealing depression from myself in midlife?”

I’m a much different person from that 27-year-old woman. At 62, I still overthink everything, but if the voice in my head starts to be an asshole I quickly shut it down. I’ve found delicious freedom and self-confidence in NGAF. There’s joy and contentment in living my life the way I am, and I can honestly say I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. Sure, I have times of sadness or disappointment or worry. Of course I do. I also have periods of needing solitude. Does that indicate I’m depressed? Am I concealing depression from myself in midlife?

Mural in Portugal

No, I don’t think so. I do stay aware of and in tune with what I’m feeling. Emotional self-care is vital, especially in times of change. When I traveled around the world by myself, away from family and friends for two-and-a-half months, I made sure soothing self-care was a priority. I know I must do the same when I leave my home to move overseas alone this fall. It will be easy to become overwhelmed. Journaling and writing, gratitude and yoga practice, and lots of time by water and in nature are essential to a self-care routine that I imagine will become even more important as I adjust to being an expat in Portugal.

Self-care in Indonesia

A lightbulb went off when I read this article. It was like when I learned being an introvert is about where a person gets energy, not about being shy. That put so many pieces of my puzzle in place for me. I shared Bashkova’s article with two close friends. Both of them — one a woman, the other a man — recognized parts of themselves in what they read. Do you?

I wasn’t aware of “concealed depression” as it’s described in the article. But it makes so much sense, and perfectly reflects my experience. It’s an experience I don’t want to conceal…or repeat.


My blog post The Last Place I Ever Thought I’d Be is an account of attempted suicide. I’m honored that it placed in the Top 10 of an international writing contest for creative nonfiction, sponsored by the award-winning WOW! Women on Writing. I’ve never entered a literary writing contest before, and it was a goal I set for my 62nd birthday, one year after becoming a blogger. I’m excited to be part of this group of talented women writers.


All images are my own.

The Hot Goddess

Instagram: retired_rewired_inspired


If you enjoyed this please remember to Share, Like, Follow, Comment, Subscribe. (This is my “call to action” I’m supposed to include in every post. Thanks so much for your support!)❤

33 comments

  1. Wow, you continue to astonish me with your goddess-ness. And you are such a rockstar on so many levels. I’ve never heard of concealed depression either and that sounds so scary. I’m glad you made your way through that darkness, even if it still comes sometimes, and it sounds like you’re choosing to stay here on this Earth, thankfully. And I’m so glad you are, and don’t want to think about a Natalie-less world!!! 😘

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kudos Natalie on winning the writing contest and continuing to be a voice and inspiration for women (and men) who feel stuck in their lives. I have danced with depression for much of my life too. Action is what helps as long as it’s not coming from avoidance!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, dear Brad 💜 Your encouraging words helped me become comfortable with sharing when I first started in this space. I’m so glad you can relate, and I agree — purposeful action is what helps. Hugs 🌺

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t think people talked about depression when we we’re younger. I didn’t realize what it was until after the fact. I just thought it was failure… my failure. Although it wasn’t concealed in my case. I was considered moody. So glad you have tools to manage the downs in your life. I know from personal experience that we all need to stock our own toolbox.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is so true, and I love how you put it: “…we all need to stock our own toolbox.” Figuring out what to put in my toolbox was a learning process that started with self-acceptance and -compassion.
      We definitely did not talk about depression! My family still won’t talk about it. I also thought I was a failure…and was made to feel like one. Discovering myself in midlife has been incredibly empowering.
      Thank you for sharing, Jennifer. I really appreciate it 💜

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Congratulations Hot Goddess! You deserve the honor for sure! I especially appreciate this article as the mental health journey is one we have traveled with our youngest daughter. In the process, I too discovered some “stuff” that I needed to deal with! So glad that you have learned to care for yourself well. Keep being your amazing self! Best Wishes! Leigh

    Liked by 1 person

    • Leigh, thank you so much for your support and for sharing your personal connection. I think one of the most gratifying parts of midlife is discovering and wisely working on our “stuff” with self-compassion. That’s what I wish I could tell my younger self.
      I appreciate you, Leigh!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow – this such an incredible post. First for the spotlight you put on your self-care, voice inside the head and concealed depression. And secondly for the well-deserved congratulations on your essay submission. That is awesome – you are inspiring for bravely setting goals and then pursuing them! Can’t wait to read the essay. Will they publish it one of these days!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Congratulations Natalie. You are an inspiration to me. I struggle with many of the same things and have recently began to find ways to manage and cope so the latter part of life is more peaceful. I never considered myself an introvert until today. Yes, I gather my energy in solitude. I wish you so much joy on your new journey. With love, laureen

    Liked by 1 person

    • Laureen, thank you so much 💜
      I’m grateful to have connected with you, and for your honest sharing that always inspires. Many thanks for always encouraging me on this journey. XO

      Like

  7. Hot Goddess, congrats on the writing award. Well deserved. That’s so cool. I did my master work in counseling psychology and never heard of “concealed depression”. But it makes sense. Lots of “high functioning” people are suffering in silence. Again,🙌🙌

    Liked by 1 person

    • Robert, thank you so much for your kindness! You’re right — there’s a lot of silent suffering going on. This is something I never would have discussed so openly 10 years ago…not 5 years ago. The blogging community has been instrumental in building my confidence to share. I appreciate you 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Natalie, your post is rich in content and enriching to read! Congratulations on your writing success and thank you for sharing information about a topic that isn’t discussed enough. I loved reading that you are the happiest you have ever been. Blessings! You are an inspiration! 💖

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The Last Place I Ever Thought I’d Be, is powerful story of triumph. Congrats for placing and achieving one of your set goals! And your whole post is informational and inspirational, as always. You’ve put the concept of happiness so well, “I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. Sure, I have times of sadness or disappointment or worry.” Brilliant write!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, thank you so much, Khaya!💜 Such uplifting words. We know happiness is a journey of discovery, paved with joy and tears, not a constant state or final destination. I’m elated to have connected with you here.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s