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Why is it that depression is so random and hard to detect, that even the happiest person turns out to be the worst mentally?

21 Answers
Last Updated: 12/21/2021 at 8:46pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Stacy Overton, PhD.


I am an enthusiastic life-long learner and also a professor of counseling. I have a passion for peoples stories and helping to guide and empower the human spirit.

Top Rated Answers
August 17th, 2015 6:21am
People can put up a front because they are scared of letting others in. They build walls to protect themselves from the opinions of others, or from people that they do not want to open up to. Society pressures us all to be happy and positive 24/7 so when we are feeling down, we tend to want to immediately not accept our feelings and cover them up by "acting" like we are fine. Asking for help can also be too much for some people. At the end of the day, we all deal with very individual emotions and personal thoughts. What seems like a perfect life to one person can actually be a living hell to another. We all deal with situations and struggles differently, and we react to hard times differently. What seems like an easy life to one can be really, really challenging for another. It is so hard to tell how someone really feels nowadays, but just let them know that you are not going to judge them and that you are always there to listen when they need to talk. That is the best you can do sometimes!
November 10th, 2015 5:24pm
Because of the nature of depression, people that suffer from it can have tremendous difficulty in expressing how they are feeling. They can become very very expert at appearing fine, just so that they won't have to say how they really are feeling. So the "happiest person" isn't actually that happy, necessarily. They may be desperately sad inside. How can you know this ? By asking people questions, and not judging their answers, and by not being scared by negative things. Negative things exist, but ignoring them doesn't make them go away. By accepting them and working through them their effects can be significantly reduced.
January 25th, 2015 2:57pm
In many ways, depression is a loss of happy feelings. Your present life may be calm and free of trauma, but for some a sense of unfulfilment and isolation gradually builds up. And even when 'happy events' take place, you can't seem to enjoy them as you wish. Regardless, I think it's important not to associate depression with the person's lifestyle. It's an illness with potential fatal consequences, and as Alastair Campbell says: 'You would never say: “What does he have to be cancerous about, diabetic about, asthmatic about?” (...) Nobody ever gets blamed for getting physical illness – even when those illnesses do result from lifestyle choices – so why on earth do we still talk about depression like it is the fault, and the lifestyle choice, of the depressive?'
November 23rd, 2015 4:23pm
This is because people hide their troubles with the thought that they don't want to burden/bother their loved ones with more issues. That's why they smile through the pain, because they'd rather be the ones suffering in quietude than to see their love ones in pain. People in depression are really kind :(
May 4th, 2015 11:43pm
I would disagree that depression is "random," or "hard to detect." More often than not, warning signs are present-- we simply (1) don't know what to look for, or even (2) ignore them, perhaps even explain them away.
June 1st, 2015 2:08am
I think it's hard to tell who has it and who doesn't because people with depression tend to try harder to make sure that everyone around them is as happy as possible. We know how it feels to be sad, and we don't want anyone else to go through it, so we put aside our sadness so we don't bum anyone else out. The other thing is that it's a mental illness. It's not something that you can see directly, making it really easy to not notice if you don't know the signs or the person is very good at hiding their symptoms.
June 30th, 2015 1:10am
Depression is hard to detect because many depressed people hide their depression and pretend to be happy.
July 6th, 2015 3:18am
This could be due to any number of reasons! It could be a hormonal shift due to any number of environmental factors, it could be something that we're subconsciously worried about, or it could just be time for you to eat, have some water, or relax! You should visit the doctor to find out the true cause of your specific case.
July 13th, 2015 8:47pm
It's not always this way, but people do tend to be quite far in before they actually have a problem with it. It's not abnormal to feel really depressed without a huge life event occurring.
July 28th, 2015 6:48am
because they don't want you to know it at all. so stop pestering yourself on how you detect something people don't want you to detect start to realize that someday they will tell you that they are depressed
August 11th, 2015 11:54pm
Because sometimes people have depression without knowing the reason. Even the happiest person may have a problem that he's or she's afraid of telling so keeping it inside might lead to deppresion
December 7th, 2015 5:31pm
No one wants to cause other people to be upset, and that keeps people from talking about the problem. They don't want to upset other people, so they act like they aren't upset.
February 15th, 2016 12:28pm
It is because, the happiest people aren't the happiest. They pretend to be happy so no one would know why they're sad. In fact the very reason why depressed person is sad makes it feel inferior. Perhaps, I don't have friends. I'm too ashamed to admit it. I put on my happy mask and just blend in with the crowd. No one knows ... how what matters in my heart. That makes it more painful, the fact that NOONE, feels a damn about what you are inside that happy mask ...
May 9th, 2016 11:44pm
People often fake a smile and pretend everything's okay when it's not. They do this to not see like an attention seeker or because they feel like their feelings don't matter. Your feelings do matter.
July 5th, 2016 1:17pm
Because people tend to assume many things about depression, and also, there are no physical tests on depression so it's much harder to diagnose than some other disorders.
September 27th, 2016 10:22pm
Because depression isn't just a feeling. It's not having uncontrollable tears or something similar to that. To me, its this state of being, a sinking feeling made up of many feelings. And it's just easy to mask after a while, because it's just..there all the time. It doesn't take a lot of effort to wear a smile and say "I'm fine" but it's much much harder to open up and cry and be honest.
December 6th, 2016 6:32pm
Often people suffering from depression hide their emotions, in a sense, "put a mask on". I was one of those people. To make sure people around me wouldn't get affected negatively from my depression, I made sure I was extra peppy and happy around friends, but at home, I'd sit and cry and hours not wanting to do anything. Of course, now I'm better, but that is my belief as to why depression is so random and hard to detect.
February 14th, 2017 11:30pm
Depression is a force nature. It can strike anyone. Rich or poor. Black or white. Christian or Hindu. Depression does not a certain group of people but everyone. We may not be able to control it but together we can support each other during our darkest days.
September 3rd, 2019 11:58am
Depression is a neurobiochemical imbalance, for one thing, and can affect anyone at random. It is hard to detect, because different people respond differently to it, and some people can be really good at covering it up. The happiest-seeming person could just as well be the saddest, and their liveliness could be a compensatory mechanism for themselves and others. They are often the most compassionate, so it's not wonder they'd want to keep everyone else worry-free! In addition, it can be a comorbidity with bipolar, in which case what you may be seeing is their manic side in public, with their depressed side remaining behind closed doors.
June 9th, 2020 8:55pm
I think that the most emotional or depressed people are the best at concealing their emotions, because they may be scared, or in some cases, unable to express their emotions to people close to them. In the same way, I think that the most hurt people, also are the most caring people. They have been through the worst seasons, and they care to ensure no one goes through the same things as they had gone through. This is an important reminder to of course, care about your friends that are visibly struggling, but also to check in with your happy friends, because underneath, they may be going through something as well.
December 21st, 2021 8:46pm
Depression is to put it simply a 'mood disorder', for unknown reasons we can't shake off that constant overwhelming and consistent feeling of sadness and disinterest. It can get worse but there are also simple technqiues to ease it with meditation, therapy/councelling, self help...etc. Everyone is hiding a dark interior of sadness, as people who openly talk about this feel enviess of those that we 'think' are happier. That is why we must always keep an open mind, not everyone is feeling as successful or happy as we make them out to be in our heads and it is okay to go through this because - You are NOT alone :)