Smiling depression

The title of the article caught my attention right away, which it is supposed to do.

15 Things Only People With ‘Smiling Depression’ Understand

I remember talking to my first counselor and complaining that my doctor told me I was depressed and didn’t know it.  He smiled and gently asked, “Do you ever feel angry and then do nothing about it?”

I replied, “Yes,” immediately.

“You are depressing your emotion, that is a form of depression.”

Oh bother….I was depressed.  We then joked about depression being anger without enthusiasm. However far more deadly, it is anger, hurt, suffering turned inward on myself.  Instead of telling the person they hurt me, I turned it in on myself and called my self ugly names and beat myself up that I dared to feel angry.  The fact that the other person said or did something that was hurtful is totally lost in this self punishment for feeling angry.

What is smiling depression?

In her post, “What You Need to Know About ‘Smiling Depression,’” Mighty contributor Laura Coward describes having smiling depression like this:

It’s appearing happy to others and smiling through the pain, keeping the inner
turmoil hidden. It’s a major depressive disorder with atypical symptoms, and as
a result, many don’t know they’re depressed or don’t seek help. Those who do would prefer to keep their struggle private.

People with smiling depression are often partnered or married, employed and are quite accomplished and educated. They’ve usually struggled with depression and/or debilitating anxiety for years and have had some experience with therapy or medication. Many who know they are depressed don’t disclose it due to fear of discrimination from loved ones or employers. Their public, professional and social lives are not suffering. Their façade is put together and accomplished. But behind the mask and behind closed doors, their minds are filled with thoughts of worthlessness, inadequacy and despair.

It’s important to remember every person’s experience of depression needs to be taken seriously, no matter what it looks like on the outside. 

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