Depression is a mental illness that doesn’t seem to be, but the affect of it says it all. A depressed person
is found to have low mood all the while, loss of interest in activities with severe impairment in daily life.
As the name implies, Smiling Depression is the term used for the people who are depressed inside but
pretend to be happy and contended outside. This can be mostly observed in celebrities. Smiling
depression is considered as a part of major depressive disorders with atypical features that affects how
people think, feel and behave.
People with major depressive disorders lose interest in tasks they once enjoyed and find trouble
performing their simple daily tasks. They are more prone to suicidal ideation. Usually, though a person is
depressed, any positive outcome is likely to elevate the mood for some time, in them. But, if the
depression disorder is classic, no such positive outcomes could bring a cheer in them.
Depression, in general, affects everyone and the symptoms can vary. The most distinguished ones being
deep, prolonged sadness. The one, who has such a chronic depression, is likely to have a major
depression. Though people having smiling depression camouflage it with their smiling faces, there are
some symptoms that can be identified to know that they are depressed.
Changes in appetite, weight and sleeping
A sense of heaviness in arms and legs
Getting easily hurt by criticism or rejection
Feelings of hopelessness
Lack of self-esteem and self-worth
Lack of interest in anything
Feeling depressed in the evening or at night
Feeling the need to sleep for unusually longer time
However, the ones suffering smiling depression are good at hiding these symptoms from the
observation of others. To others, the people having smiling depression may look like active individuals,
someone holding a steady job with healthy family and happy life, a person who is cheerful, optimistic
and generally happy. But, internally they experience distressful symptoms of depression.
Why do they do so?
It is a common question that arises to most of us that why they do so. There could be many reasons
depending upon their environmental conditions or their family conditions on why they act so. They
generally don’t express their depression because they feel that
Showing it out would be a sign of weakness
That it doesn’t make any difference though they show
That it might spoil the atmosphere
That others would get offended or might get disturbed
Feeling that others have worse problems than theirs
Thinking, “Not showing it makes me forget and I’m already fine”
Though they seem to be so normal in nature, these causes make them suffer inside and they can’t come
out of the shackles and share their worries.
Why is Smiling depression Dangerous?
Smiling depression is dangerous than a typical depression. The energy levels of people with smiling
depression are higher than the people who possess a typical depressive symptom and this makes us
difficult to identify what’s actually going on in their minds. Though depressed people have the thoughts
of suicide, they won’t have the energy to act on these thoughts, but people with smiling depression
might have the energy and motivation to follow such thoughts. In other words, smiling depression is not
only difficult to identify, but it is also a potential threat.
Another problem is that, they might not think they have a problem. Mostly, they think they are
managing everything in a right way. It is only that a very close person can identify this problem in them
with much observation, as they mostly hide it from the outside world.
What are the Triggers?
Smiling depression is most likely to occur when some big changes take place in life, like going through a
break-up, loss of someone too close, losing a job etc. as if their life doesn’t have a meaning and purpose.
When someone is really upset about certain happening but doesn’t want anyone let know. The most
common example of this kind is the false imposition of manhood on not expressing the emotions, saying
“Real men don’t cry”. It is a social stigma that means men are not supposed to express their emotions in
tears. This could be one of the reasons why men don’t seek mental help like women in the society.
Also, people who feel like being judged or fear the tag of a “crying baby” or “emotional” try to hide their
feelings by putting up a smiling façade.
In this digital age, social media plays a vital role in affecting our emotions. The pictures that people
upload on their social media platforms are all the happy moments they share, that make others feel
“Everyone is really happy”. But the smiles and shares on social media are mostly the artificial emotions
that train us to smile at the camera. Such an attitude is increasing the number of cases where people are
getting socially trained to hide their real sadness and put a fake smile instead. No wonder the cases of
smiling depression are increasing in today’s youth!!
Having more than real expectations make someone anxious and being unable to achieve leaves an
underachiever mark in their minds. When such a conflict remains unresolved, it creates sad thoughts
that linger upon, leading to depression. It could be either parents, peers or others who have
expectations, but coping with all such burden, wearing a happy mask, creates smiling depression in
many. The want of being a perfectionist could make this even worst. Happiness will be a distant dream
Statistics and Remedies
While one in ten people suffer depression, forty percent of them suffer from smiling depression, hiding
their agony from the world around. According to its prediction, World Health Organization says that by
2030, depression would be the top most global health problem. It has been a habit for us to brush off
our emotions in front of others and say, “I’m fine” but beneath your façade, those dark forces may be at
work. Instead of aiming to be tension-less, one should strive to be something in life. Instead of trying to
be perfect at everything, we should try to live life. When we free ourselves from the cage of tormenting
emotions, we shall be free to think properly.
The best way to come out of it is to have a dialogue. Be it your best friend or a close someone who could
empathize. If you really feel that you need help, it is better to consult an expert psychologist. In case,
the problem is severe, a psychiatrist will be recommended for medical help. If needed, they might refer
to group therapy or individual therapy. We are here to help you, as our group of expert and experienced
psychologists is within your reach, either online or offline.