Smiling Depression: Frequently Asked Questions
Smiling depression is when you appear to be happy and smiling on the outside but you’re hurting deep inside. This is a major depressive disorder with atypical symptoms, and as a result, the people you love may not know you are depressed because one, you don’t appear to be depressed and two, you don’t seek help.
What Is Often Asked About Smiling Depression
People who experience smiling depression usually have their facade put together and are usually an accomplished person. Yet their heads are filled with feelings of worthlessness, inadequacy, and desperation behind their happy mask and closed doors. They usually have experienced depression and anxiety for several years, but go undiagnosed due to the fear of being rejected and discriminated against by their loved ones.
Is it Dangerous?
Yes, it is very dangerous because smiling depression is a major depressive disorder that is connected to suicide/suicidal thoughts. Why is it connected? Have you thought that someone who has little to no energy to try a suicide attempt? No, it is usually the people who appear to be “normal”, happy, connecting and having fun with their loved ones. It is not always the ones who are disheveled, haven’t taken a shower, or seems out of it that attempts to carry out suicide.
The people who have their lives together, who have dreams and goals, the ones we aspire to be when we grow up, they are the ones we regret not being able to save. We never ask if they’re okay or if they’re hurting because we bought into the facade and couldn’t see through the pain hiding through the surface. People who have experienced the impact of a loved one’s suicide say the same thing: “They’re the last one I expected to carry this out. We didn’t know they were hurting.”
How Can You Help?
De-stigmatize mental illness
The people who experience mental illnesses are mostly perfectionists and they do not want to appear weak to anyone. But, honestly, it’s okay to be weak and to break down once in a while. You shouldn’t have to feel as though you can’t be weak in front of someone. We need to create awareness and talk about mental illnesses.
There are many role models in life who experience depression. They are the ones who advocate for therapy, meditation, etc. with less judgment and shame will be associated with depression.
Pay attention to your loved ones (especially if they are showing warning signs)
If you have a loved one who is starting to seem out of it, starting to distance themselves, giving away their belongings (often a sign that they might be considering suicide), withdrawing themselves from the world, ask them if they are okay. Be their rock, give them a shoulder to cry on, listen and talk to them, let them know that they are not alone. Having you by their side gives them the sense of having an authentic social relationship and genuine connection.
And, if you think you’re depressed:
On days that you feel like everyone and everything is giving up on you, or if your brain is fighting you for your life, remember that you are not alone, you are enough, you are worth loving and being loved. Give yourself time and take a break. Find activities that excite you and are meaningful to you. Try to reach out to someone you trust and do consider talking to a therapist.
Allow these influential positions in your life to assist you in achieving a more optimistic mindset. Avoid being submerged in a whirlwind of negative, self-defeating thoughts. Don’t give up, don’t let depression win. You are not alone.