Do you feel as if you have bouts of pronounced sadness when you are alone? Have thoughts of whether you are truly needed in this life? Feeling a lack of self-worth, self-esteem, and hopelessness?
Yet do you hide it behind a cheery demeanor because you don’t want to burden others with your feelings? or feel as if you are weak if you reveal them?
Then you may be suffering from smiling depression.
On the inside, you are experiencing symptoms of depression but on the outside, you look perfectly happy and like you have everything under control. The scary thing is that someone with smiling depression can look like a high-functioning, active individual seemingly with everything ‘together.’ They can have a healthy social life, family, and a steady job yet still be suffering internally.
People with this kind of depression may have a higher risk of suicide. Unlike major depression sufferers who may have suicidal thoughts but not have the energy to commit suicide, those with smiling depression might have the energy and motivation to go through with it.
Risk factors vary and can include major life changes, like a failed relationship or loss of a job. Cultural pressures and stigma that prohibit the expression of emotion.
Feeling like you may be judged for expressing depressive symptoms so you must put on a façade.
Social media also plays a major role too. Since everyone only posts their best days, it generates a distorted sense of reality. This can provide the opportunity or space to let smiling depression manifest. You may feel as if you have to hide your emotions if they don’t fit the expectations that are set by either yourself or others. Perfectionists may be at a greater risk since they set such an impossible standard for themselves.
Treatment options include lifestyle changes, medications, and psychotherapy. The first step, however, is seeking help, speaking to someone close to you or a professional. There are also online support and resource options.
Lifeline Chat emotional services and support via web chat.
National Alliance on Mental Illness resource options
If someone you know or you are considering suicide please get help from a crisis or suicide prevention hotline 1-800-273-8255