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Perfectly Hidden Depression
How to Break Free from the Perfectionism That Masks Your Depression
Average: 3.8 (21 votes)
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When your life looks perfect, but you’re silently falling apart…

If you were raised to believe that painful emotions are a sign of weakness, or if being vulnerable has always made you feel unsafe, then you may have survived by creating a perfect-looking life—a life where you appear to be successful, engaged, and always there for others. The problem? You’re filled with self-criticism and shame, and you can’t allow yourself to express fear, anger, loss, or grief. You recognize something is wrong, but you’re not sure what exactly—only that you feel trapped and alone. If this sounds like you, you may have perfectly hidden depression (PHD).

With this compassionate guide, you’ll begin the process of understanding your perfectionism, identifying destructive beliefs, and connecting with emotions suppressed for far too long. You’ll also find tangible tips for quieting that critical inner voice, and powerful strategies for coping with difficult feelings. Most importantly, you’ll learn that asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength. If you’re ready to stop hiding and start healing, this groundbreaking book will guide you—every imperfect step of the way.

Publisher Reviews
  • “In Perfectly Hidden Depression, Margaret Rutherford shines a powerful and revealing spotlight on an important aspect of depression that receives far too little attention. As she describes in exquisite detail, the relationship between perfectionism and depression is an intense one; it creates a toxic internal environment that robs worthy people of the ability to enjoy even true successes, since perfection rarely, if ever, exists in the real world. Rutherford’s compassion and wisdom is matched by her courage in challenging all of us to expand our understanding of depression in its diverse appearances. The guidance and support she provides here will be invaluable for anyone struggling with these debilitating issues.” 
    Michael D. Yapko, PhD, clinical psychologist, and author of Depression Is Contagious and Keys to Unlocking Depression

  • Perfectly Hidden Depression illustrates a critical truth that we need to face: sometimes, the people who appear to have it all together are falling apart. Margaret Rutherford shows us that hiding depression through perfectionism can be deadly. This book shows you how to recognize depression in yourself, overcome the stigma, shed unhealthy perfectionism, and embrace your imperfect self.”
    Sarah Fader, CEO of Stigma Fighters, and coauthor of The 10-Step Depression Relief Workbook

  • “Margaret Rutherford’s book, Perfectly Hidden Depression, is a unique perspective on a common, but often unrecognized, cause of depression. People who experience this version of depression almost always seem fine on the outside, and give little, if any, signs of their inner suffering…. Driven by perfectionism, unrealistic demands on themselves, and harsh internal self-criticism and shame, they often suffer this hidden form of depression. They feel stuck in an inexplicable trap of depression, and do not know how to change and heal this.

    This book is exceptionally written. It clearly describes this condition and maps out concrete strategies for confronting these problems. Aside from many realistic strategies for confronting hidden depression is a core feature of developing more self-compassion and recognizing one’s vulnerability…. I highly recommend this amazing book to those who suffer from depression, the significant others in their lives, as well as psychotherapists.”
    John Preston, PsyD, therapist, author, and professor emeritus at the California School of Professional Psychology and Alliant International University

  • “This book can and will save lives. Written with wisdom and compassion, Perfectly Hidden Depression not only sheds light on a growing epidemic, but provides a clear path for coming out of hiding into healing.”
    Pat Love, EdD, licensed marriage and family therapist, and author of The Truth About Love

  • “Margaret Rutherford presents a compassionate perspective on thoughts and feelings rarely revealed. These ‘secret truths’ lie at the heart of Perfectly Hidden Depression. Innovative, self-guided exercises throughout the book encourage readers to explore their individual ‘secret truths’ privately at their own pace. This book offers a unique opportunity for personal growth and contentment.”
    Leah Klungness, PhD, psychologist in private practice, and coauthor of The Complete Single Mother

  • “This is the book that I have been waiting for. I will not only recommend it to many of my patients, but I will also recommend it to friends and colleagues. This book will resonate with so many people, and may open the door to emotional healing for people who have had difficulty labeling their emotional discomfort. It is both very enjoyable and informative to read. Run, don’t walk to get it!”
    Barbara Greenberg, PhD, clinical psychologist specializing in the treatment of teens, children, and families; and coauthor of Teenage as a Second Language

  • “Finally, a book that takes a deep dive into what psychologists have called ‘masked depression,’ but has no diagnostic label. If you are a self-critical perfectionist, and are suffering in silence, this book offers a pathway to getting the help you need. If you know you are in pain but didn’t have the words to ask for help and connect with others, Margaret Robinson Rutherford’s book will offer you a new beginning. You can look forward to transformational self-insights that will help you move from shame to self-compassion.”
    Lara Honos-Webb, PhD, worldwide attention deficit disorder (ADD) expert; clinical psychologist; and author of The Gift of ADHD, The Gift of ADHD Activity Book, The Gift of Adult ADD, The ADHD Workbook for Teens, and Listening to Depression

  • “For anyone who feels like they don’t ‘deserve’ the label of depression, or for anyone who finds themselves silently stuck in cycles of self-hate, Margaret Rutherford’s work on perfectly hidden depression strikes in a place most literature on depression misses, speaking to a whole group of people who suffer without acknowledging or feeling worthy of their own pain. I recognized myself in these pages, and wish a younger version of myself had been introduced to this book and the helpful reflection prompts within it. I hope it reaches the people who need it.”
    Sarah Schuster, editorial director of contributors at The Mighty


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