DEFINING THE SYMPTOMS OF SMILING DEPRESSION
To many outsiders, depression is not immediately recognizable. You don’t have to be stuck in bed to be depressed, and a lot of people can be functional in the outside world while they’re totally unhappy inside.
There is a term called “smiling depression,” as well as “walking depression,” which means you seem okay and together to people on the outside, but inside you’re not well.
Smiling Depression Symptoms
As Bustle explains, people with walking and smiling depression seem fine to many in the outside world, but they can “overcompensate for how they feel on the inside by appearing extremely together on the outside.” This can be a dangerous paradox because it can make people think you’re not suffering, and make it even harder for some to admit what they’re really feeling.
As this story continues, it’s a myth that people who seem together and seemingly have it all aren’t depressed. But depression, just like addiction, can hit anybody of any walk of life, and it’s a dangerous assumption to take people at face value with their mental health struggles.
Another problem with smiling or walking depression, oddly enough, is that many people may not be aware that they are suffering from it. A lot of times mental health struggles can be very overwhelming, and you may not fully understand what you’re going through.
As one therapist explains, “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.”
When you’re suffering from smiling or walking depression, you have the same symptoms as regular depression, but you’re still able to function and do what you have to do every day, unlike some extreme cases of depression where everything is an “impossible task.”
As Psychology Today explains, with smiling depression, “The smile and external façade is a defense mechanism, an attempt to hide their true feelings…Another way to think about smiling depression is to see it as wearing a mask. People suffering from smiling depression may offer no hint of their problem to the outside world.”
And indeed, people with smiling and walking depression can still hold down jobs, be in charge of a family, and have a social life. And while everything looks perfect on the outside, inside nothing can be further from the truth.
Psychology Today also warns that suicide can be a big risk with people suffering from smiling or walking depression. A lot of times people who are depressed have suicidal idealation, “but not the energy to act on their feelings.” But people who have smiling depression often “have the energetic ability to plan and follow through.”
Sometimes it can be harder for someone who has smiling depression to recognize that they should get help, and again, they may not be totally aware of what they’re suffering from. But the good news is that smiling depression can indeed be helped, just like other forms of depression can be treated, and help is always available.