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Smiling depression is real and you might have it without even knowing

If most of your days are spent smiling at others while feeling sad and depressed, you may suffer from smiling depression, according to MNN.

Depression is usually associated with noticeable sadness and a sense of disengagement from your loved ones. However, smiling depression (or hidden depression) exists and is treatable. According to Thai-An Truong, a mental health therapist at Oklahoma’s Lasting Change Therapy, the symptoms of smiling depression are similar to those of regular depression: low mood, sadness, hopelessness, low self-worth, and suicidal thoughts. The difference stems from the fact that people with smiling depression hide their vulnerability and use laughter as a means to disguise their pain.

Social media exacerbates the symptoms of smiling depression. Sufferers look at other people’s posts about their perfect lives and feel pressured to keep up with them, if only for the sake of appearences. They even post their perfect shots with captions that don’t quite capture the reality.


May is mental health awareness month. According to a recent survey of more than 2000 women conducted by women's health magazine and the national alliance of mental illness 89% said they suffer from "smiling depression" where people look and act put together, managing to go to work and hang out with friends but inside they're struggling. 20% of those women said the internal stigma they felt about their depression or anxiety led them to share a photo on social media with a caption that didn't match how they felt inside. To join the empowering movement, post your own photo and recaption it with your real feelings and the hashtag #HowIReallyFelt and tagging @womenshealthmag and @namicommunicate

A post shared by Estelle Parker (@estellepparker) on

The good news for those suffering from smiling depression is that help is closer than they think. The first step is to acknowledge the problem. The next step is to talk to someone you trust and let them know what’s going on. If they don’t take you seriously, find someone else. You can also bring a few self-care changes, like eating a better diet and getting daily exercise.

If a friend or family member who seems to have it all figured out turns to you for comfort, don’t brush it off and tell them to be happy for what they have.

Daisy Wilder