The general assumption about a person smiling is that he or she is happy, relaxed and enjoying life. Nevertheless, according to the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), an individual who appears to be happy and goes about his or her daily chores comfortably, but is still unable to enjoy life, might be suffering from smiling depression.
In simple words, smiling depression is a depressive disorder in which a person appears to be happy despite battling an inner turmoil. Characterized by atypical symptoms, smiling depression is hard to detect as people suffering from this disorder generally do well in their professional, social and personal lives.
Such individuals use smile and happiness as a defense mechanism or a façade to hide their true feelings from friends and loved ones. When with others or in public, they smile, laugh and pretend to have fun just like normal people. But the moment they are on their own, feelings of despair, intense sadness, emptiness, loneliness and inadequacy start tormenting them.
Other symptoms of smiling depression include irritability, fatigue, anger, fear, anxiety and hopelessness. Those suffering from this or any other type of depression generally experience disturbed sleeping patterns, loss of interest in activities once considered pleasurable, and decreased libido. However, these symptoms can be managed and depression can be cured with medications and therapies.
Coping with smiling depression
Most of the times, people treat a mental illness as a behavioral issue, rather than a disease. If not addressed on time, mental illnesses can exacerbate and eventually lead to adverse health consequences. Though professional therapy at a credible mental health clinic is the best recourse in such a situation, there are certain things that an individual can do on his or her own to start the path to recovery:
- Acknowledge: People suffering from smiling depression often find it difficult to accept that they have a problem. However, accepting that an individual has a mental disorder is not a sign of weakness, as many people perceive, but a sign of courage should be helpful.
- Communicate: Individuals battling depression do not talk about their feelings because they think that others will neither be able to understand their pain, nor would they know how to help them. However, just talking to somebody trustworthy can be the most helpful step. That is why talk therapy is considered one of the most effective remedies for depression.
- Believe: When people are feeling low, they become particularly critical of themselves. They become very hard on themselves emotionally, without realizing the extent of damage they are causing to themselves. Boosting confidence is essential for those battling depression, as that is the first thing the condition affects. Remember, nobody is perfect.
Seeking help for depression
According to a survey involving 2,000 women, conducted by NAMI and Women’s Health, 89 percent of the participants suffering from either anxiety or depression, said that they were able to perform their routine chores by hiding their struggles from their loved ones.
This World Smile Day, if you know a person who is suffering from smiling depression or any other version of the disorder, put a true smile on their faces by referring them to a mental health therapist. World Smile Day is observed on the first Friday of October and its theme for the year is: “Do an act of kindness. Help one person smile.”
Call the 24/7 Mental Health Helpline at 855-653-8178 to help your loved one have a genuine smile. Our mental rehab helpline can guide you to the best mental health facility near you. You can even chat online with our representatives for more information about various effective mental health treatment programs.