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Dear Abby for unmasking?

Granted this blog post is about depression, but how many of you remember Dear Abby? Probably all of us have heard of her at some point in our life as she has stood the test of time. She has played a vital part in so many people’s lives.  In my opinion, the reason she was so effective in her role as a proverbial life coach and able to help people was because she never used names…Amy could have been Susan who could have been Mary.  Tom could have been Calvin who could have been Terry…who could have been you!

Many think Depression is just feeling sad, but in fact depression is an illness many people struggle with on a daily basis. 

Depression can be:

Hidden: I’m so busy with work and have no time for a social life

Faked: I’m fine, just tired and stressed

Masked by anger: just leave me alone, I’m fine

Masked by addiction: I just had a few drinks to take the edge off, no big deal

When depression is hidden behind a metaphoric mask, symptoms can be difficult to identify by loved ones or the individual.  I had a friend who had lost his job and separated from his wife.  He would say “I feel like I’m drowning” always lashing out, and was a heavy drinker.  

He didn’t know it but he was depressed.  In his mind, however, his problems would be solved when he got a new job.  After several debates and conversations, he was finally ready to address what was going on inside of him, what was causing his emotional pain. 

It is very difficult to help someone who will not acknowledge they need help or verbalize they are hurting inside.  If you are in the line of fire and they consider you the source of their problems they may be reluctant to accept your help.  With all that being said, we still must strive to help those in need.  To tell them I see you behind your mask. We must first seek to understand the pain behind their mask.  Then get them the help they need. 

Nikki Harris-Hackett, FNP

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