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What is smiling depression?


Though smiling depression is not a clinical disorder it is a real problem in today’s society particularly with social media. It typically occurs when a person who is suffering from depression hides behind a smile to convince people they are okay. A person may look and act happy but on the inside they could be struggling with feelings of worthlessness, inadequacy and helplessness. Some people may keep their depression a secret because they fear the judgement of others.

What role do the social media have on smiling depression?

I see smiling depression more and more in today’s society and the consequence of it is that this type of depression can go undetected. I often see such glamorous Instagram posts where everything appears perfect, when in reality that person’s life may be anything but. Instagram filters also fuel smiling depression because it literally alters your face and thus your emotions. It somehow becomes a situation where a person is prevented from being their real self and showing their true emotions. This can often feel like a mental prison.

How to overcome smiling depression?

I think as a society we do not talk enough. We tend to ask that generic question of “How are you?” and once we get the generic answer of “I’m okay or I’m fine” we carry on with the rest of the day. Sometimes it is important to ask “Are you sure you are okay?” because this additional question could be all that is needed for the person with depression to open up and say “actually I am not okay”. I watched a great BBC drama called “Roman Kemp: Our Silent Emergency” which followed the story of Roman Kemp, a radio DJ as he discussed the suicide of his best friend and colleague who suffered from depression. Roman had no idea his friend was battling with depression and he discussed the importance of asking the “Are you okay” question twice. It was a great documentary and I highly recommend it.

Are you okay?

If you are experiencing depression you are not alone. You do not have to hide behind a smile. It is okay to talk about what you are feeling and experiencing. At Inner Resolve, I have dedicated time and resources to achieving qualifications to help anyone who is experiencing depression. You can find further information about the kind of issues I work with here.