Depression is usually associated with a bunch of signs that can be hard to miss. But people with smiling depression can hide these signs which makes their depression easier to miss.
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What is smiling depression?
“Are you okay, really? I’m here if you want to talk!” It is likely that you’ve heard of this phrase when you were sulking in your sorrow or perhaps used it on a friend who looked upset. It is typical to associate depression with sadness, social withdrawal and low energy levels. While it is true most of the time, this precariously overlooks an anomaly that is growing in numbers – smiling depression.
Smiling depression is a form of high-functioning depression where individuals mask their depression to convince others and in some cases, themselves, that they’re fine. This leaves smiling depression usually undetected and is a serious problem for many women.
Who is at risk of smiling depression?
No matter how cheerful and happy someone may seem, smiling depression is a real possibility, especially if they exhibit subtle signs of depression. Some jobs and especially those that require one to look happy and cheerful can actually encourage the habit of suppressing one’s emotions.
Mothers may also hide behind this smiling mask for many reasons including not wanting to share their burden with their children. Other reasons why people may try to hide their emotions may include fear of being judged, refusal to accept the reality of their condition and not wanting to burden their loved ones.
A quiet killer
According to experts, there’s a worrying connection between smiling depression and suicide. Contrary to a depressed victim who lacks the energy to even leave bed, a depressed victim who is still able to function at normal or even high energy levels may be more likely to initiate a suicide attempt. This makes it a true silent killer.
How can we detect it then?
While smiling depression goes undetected on surface levels, if you looked closer into the life of a victim of smiling depression, you may find clear signs. This would include losing their appetite, looking tired and having less sleep due to insomnia. Another sign that’s usually hard to hide is losing interest in things they used to enjoy.
Tackling the invisible killer
Whether it’s you or someone else, who you think suffers from smiling depression, you should realize that there is help out there. Talking to a mental health professional can help you treat your depression. This can be as simple as taking certain medication, doing talk therapy or making lifestyle changes.
Opening up and talking to others who are going through similar situations can also help with treating depression! Sometimes all we need is someone who can understand what we’re going through especially since it is challenging for others to relate when they do not share the same experience, and may find it hard to believe that a seemingly happy person can have depression.
Try joining a support network or mental health communities, and speaking with a certified mental health professional. Remember, you’re not alone. If you have any suicidal thoughts then make sure you reach out for help.
Nectar has hosted a past webinar "Nectar Circle: A look into Lynette’s Journey in Coping with High-Functioning Depression". You can watch a recording of the webinar to find out how Lynette coped with High Functioning Depression and download a copy of the key takeaway slides here.