Depression & Stress: Faking It Until You Make It Can Hurt In The Long Run
‘Fake it until you make it’. How often have we received and heeded this advice when we are seriously stressed? It is hard to ignore since it almost always comes from the people who love us the most. Sometimes, we heed this advice without being fully aware of it because masking stress or pain is so deeply embedded in our ‘survival tactic DNA’.
Many of our ancestors practiced masking or hiding pain because their day-to-day survival depended on it. So we learned to mask our stress and pain in similar ways. Some of us also watched our mothers, fathers and grandparents cope with stress by using this tactic.
The urge to fake it until we make it may be even stronger when we experience stress stemming from discrimination and unfairness since they are difficult to validate. We go to great lengths to hide any rip in our emotional vests because doing so helps us feel safer and in control.
But, the truth of the matter is that these survival tactics only provide temporary pain relief and may set us up to feel mental distress. And ironically, we may even feel more mental distress when we routinely try to push stress out of our awareness. Bottom line – We can only fake it for so long until we realize that we are not really making it at all.