Smiling depression. A person can look as if their whole life is together but still be suffering from depression. Everyone experiences and expresses their depression symptoms differently. Psychology Today defines smiling depression as “appearing happy to others, literally smiling, while internally suffering with depressive symptoms. Smiling depression often goes undetected. Those suffering often discount their own feelings and brush them aside. They might not even be aware of their depression, or want to acknowledge their symptoms due to a fear of being considered weak.”
The smile this person wears might be a mask to cover and hide the feelings and emotions they are feeling. People suffering with depression can be working, have a family, participating in the actives they have always enjoyed, and even have an active social life. When a person hides their feelings and pretends they’re alright, it isn’t beneficial to anyone. People- like you- that love and support the person with depression are often times more willing to help. Many adolescents feel as if they will be a burden on others if they express their feelings of depression. It’s important to know that if your adolescent avoids and denies their feelings, they can’t be fixed.
NAMI has created a list of 3 ways that can help you or your adolscent if you are experiencing this. First, do your part to create more awareness to de-stigmatize mental illness. Often times people feel as if they need to wear this mask to cover their depression symptoms to “fit in” and that is not true. It is always more important to take care of your self and feel comfortable reaching out for help. Secondly, pay closer attention to those you love. Make sure to check on your family and friends. Don’t assume everything is all right in their life just because everything appears normal. Making sure someone feels heard and is not alone can be very helpful. Lastly, if you are the person suffering with smiling depression know you are not alone. Always remember, “you are enough, you are worthy, you are loved and you are not alone.”
Have you ever felt like you’re adolescent is wearing a smiling mask for others? Let us know in the comments below.