Smiling depression: not all is what it seems

If you were asked to describe a happy person, how would you do it? Surely this happens to you like me, and you would respond that someone who is constantly smiling, who has a very active social life (and shares it on different social networks), who always has upbeat phrases for everyone, who probably has a partner and many hobbies. In conclusion, a person who loves his life.

But what if these behaviors are just a “facade”? Can we be sure that they are really happy with the things they post on their social media or with what we perceive? As the title of the article says, “All is not what it seems”.

The same goes for depression. When we think of a depressed person, we imagine someone with the following characteristics: deep sadness, frequent crying, no energy or motivation to do activities, who sleeps a lot and with suicidal thoughts. And this is often the case, but in this article I want to focus on another aspect of this pathology, less known and very dangerous: smiling depression.

    What is smiling depression?

    It can be defined as a term used to denote people who are happy from the outside, and who often share it on their social networks, but who live internally with a persistent emptiness, sadness, despair. Inside, they suffer from depression.

    Maybe they strive to maintain a happy lifestyle because they believe that this way they will feel better or they can do it to not care about others. I have also met people who do it out of habit, automatically. They are functional people, who at first glance, their depression has not damaged any area of ​​their life.

    This term is not recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), and is likely diagnosed as major depressive disorder with atypical features, such as depression is experienced secretly, without expressing the symptoms of your depressed mood.

    Do you have specific symptoms?

    Depression presents itself differently in everyone. In smiling depression, they may exhibit sadness, feelings of emptiness, hopelessness, decreased pleasure, or interest in all or almost all activities most of the day, almost every day. .

    There may be restlessness or slowing down, fatigue or loss of energy, feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt.. There may even be a decrease in the ability to think, concentrate and make decisions.

    The difference in smiling depression is that these symptoms would be absent or almost absent in public. This would prevent people around you from suspecting that you are suffering from depression. however, certain symptoms are recognized which may be present and give us “clues” that we may be suffering from depression:

    • Increased appetite and weight gain
    • Hypersomnia (sleep for several hours) and drowsiness continues throughout the day.
    • Feeling of heaviness in the arms and legs (intermittent feeling during the day)
    • Particular sensitivity to rejection and criticism, which would directly affect interpersonal relationships.
    • Feel a temporary improvement in mood due to the good news, but feel the discomfort again.
    • Difficulty identifying and maintaining emotions. When asked, they usually say they’re okay.
    • It presents the thought that showing signs of deep sadness is a sign of weakness.

    Difficulty of diagnosis and risks

    The fact that the symptoms are hidden and the person is showing false happiness makes it difficult to identify their depression. You meet people who apparently have no reason to be sad, they can have idyllic lives. It can happen in adolescents, adolescents and adults.

    What aggravates this pathology is that affected people take much longer to seek support by not recognizing the disease, and having difficulty identifying their emotions, having an emotional block, makes the work at the psychological level more complicated.

    It is important to note that living by pretending that nothing is happening, suppressing discomfort, requires a high emotional, physical and energy cost, Which worsens over time, to become “unbearable”. And it is here that suicidal thoughts appear, which in smiling depression are associated with a higher risk, because by keeping the energy level high, they are more likely to achieve it.

    We have all heard of someone who committed suicide and their family and friends saw no “signs” of depression – quite the contrary. A well-known example is the case of actor and comedian Robin Williams, whose death and diagnosis of depression surprised many.

      important considerations

      People who have trouble talking about their problems are more likely to experience depression when smiling and have an emotional block that prevents them from expressing their feelings.. They are generally perfectionists, with a great sense of demand and responsibility, which leads them to have the need to control everything around them, to take care of + everything “to fix”, without asking for help. , nor recognize its limits.


      Like any depression, has treatments that include medication and psychotherapy, To bring about emotional, thought and lifestyle changes.

      Psychotherapy will focus on accepting the situation, learning to recognize and express your emotions, use tools and techniques to manage your mood well and resolve conflicts that arise in your life. daily. Cognitive behavioral therapy and acceptance and engagement therapy have scientifically proven their effectiveness.

      It is very important that you trust the professional you choose, That you establish a secure therapeutic bond, that you feel that they respect you, understand you and that they can accompany you in the process which you are going to initiate. This is essential for successful therapy.

      When to seek psychological help?

      If no matter how much you feel that you have everything you wanted or wanted, and that you should be happy, but you feel a void that you cannot explain and you have a hard time expressing your emotions, you are forcing yourself. also to continue. your life, suppressing your feelings and acting like you are happy … you may be suffering from depression.

      If when you are with more people you are fine, but in solitude it gives you a drop, you feel emptiness or sadness, you cannot stop eating even if you are not hungry …

      It is not enough to take medicine. I recommend that you make an appointment with a mental health professional who will interview you and help you identify if you have depression and how you can treat it. Don’t underestimate these feelingsYou don’t have to be “content” with surviving, you deserve to live your life to the fullest. Depression has a cure, you just have to take the step to open up and seek help virtually or in person.

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