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A different kind of depression

What do you think of when you hear the word

DEPRESSION?

Person with duvet over body, one arm is on top of duvet

Is it the image of someone laying in bed all day?

Do you imagine someone who cries all the time?

What about the person who is smiling?



Behind every smile, there is a story. It may be a story of pure joy and happiness. It could be a story of sadness masked up. We like to cover the deepest parts of us. We don’t want people to see our weaknesses or vulnerabilities.

I have cried when I am alone so that no one will see me sad. I write to make myself feel better. I’ve got nice clothes and look my best so that no one asks me questions. I smile when I see people, but I am hiding the pain I am going through inside.

Smiling or happy depression is a form of defence against the outside world. It’s the way to hide what is really happening from those around you.

You see this is how I have experienced depression so I understand.


Many people use social media as a way to hide their sadness and deep dark feeling. These days there’s so much pressure to look perfect and show your best.


You may feel that if you show others what is happening you may be disliked or not be accepted. Living with smiling depression can be a lonely place to be. When people ask how you are doing you say, “ I’m fine,” “I’m good” etc .. but deep down inside you feel miserable.



Signs to look out for….

  • A person may be smiling but they don’t share much.

  • Productivity levels drop for example at work somebody may always be in the office but gets nothing done or is behind on their work, this is called presenteeism.

  • They report fatigue or tiredness.

  • They have a short fuse and get easily angered or are less tolerant.

  • A person socialises less or withdraws.

  • Consider any recent changes or life events which may have occurred. Have they talked about it or have they been quiet?


Many people can still feel the stigma of discussing the experiences of mental illness. It takes so much effort to put on a front eventually it will all fall apart, you can only pretend to be happy for so long.


Ask yourself the following questions to determine whether there was a change in your mental health.


  • There are activities you enjoy doing that you’ve stopped or reduced.

  • You feel tired when you wake even after a full night's sleep.

  • You experience feelings of dread several times a week.

  • You have to push yourself to get ready daily.

  • You are having difficulty focusing on activities.

  • You feel less motivated than normal.

  • You are experiencing physical health symptoms which are affecting your daily activities.

  • You don't feel like yourself and you can't explain why.


If you said yes to any of the questions above and you’ve been experiencing symptoms for at least two weeks. It may be time to talk to a qualified health professional, a family member, a friend or anybody that you feel comfortable talking to.


Don’t mask the pain, break the stigma of mental illness.



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