When “happiness” hides the parental wound

Millions of Americans suffer from depression, but some hide behind a happy façade. Here, a parent shares her experience with smiling depression.

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I’d like to tell you that today is a good day, a good day, a good day, but I’d be lying if I said I was happy. it is winter. The air is fresh and cool. I’m shivering inside my house. The days are short. Light is scarce, but everything seems long. And that’s because I In the midst of another depressive episode. I can feel him choking me. covers me.

I’m in the ocean water.

I am drowning even though I know how to swim.

Ironically, if you saw me, you wouldn’t know it. Last month, she attended a gala, complete with red lipstick and a bold cat eye. Last week I attended a party. I drank a martini with a smile on my face. There were hugs and kisses. There was warmth and love. And yesterday I sang karaoke. I chanted songs until my stomach hurt and my voice hurt. But inside, I was screaming. I was crying. I was dying. Inside, life became more than I could handle.


Smiling depression is a term used to describe someone with major depressive disorder who hides their symptoms. GoodTherapy, an online mental health guide and resource. It is often referred to as “hide behind a smile” because smiling depressed individuals do just that: they hide behind a happy façade. They may also try to convince others that they are okay. ‘High-functioning’ depression, Those who suffer from smiling depression are also very productive. Many famous people fall into this category, for example, such as parents, employees, students, and creators.

“Individuals with smiling depression… will find themselves dealing with classicism Signs of major depressive disorderGoodTherapy adds. This includes feelings of sadness, hopelessness, anger, or irritability. However, people with major depression or smiling depression appear “normal” on the outside, appearing as cheerful and/or positive. “They tend to feel the need to hide their depressive symptoms.”

Of course, this is the case with me – I do my best to hide my illness, whether consciously or not. I am a wife and mother. An employee, sister and friend. I grew up with a mentally ill father, and I don’t want to do that Children live in the shadow of my grief. I don’t want them to feel responsible for me and my mood. So I laugh often and out loud. I smile brightly, albeit with crooked teeth, as I squeeze through the pain All the time. I take my kids to the movies, birthday parties, and amusement parks when I feel like giving up. When I want to give up.

I go to therapy to face my demons. To banish voices and negativity. I also take medication to control my symptoms. To be a better person, father and wife. But my smile doesn’t mean I’m okay.

But the truth? Every morning after I drop my daughter off at school I crawl (back) into bed. I stayed in the dark for about 90 minutes to start my day. Sometimes I sleep. Other times, I stare at the ceiling, cold and lonely. I take frequent breaks at work. At least once a day, I lean to my left side and fold in half with tears in my eyes, battling dark thoughts. I am at war with my mind. My nerves are short. I am angry, full of rage, and fickle. I vacillate between draining my feelings and being devoid of them. Yes, one of the most painful symptoms of depression is numbness.

I am a human shell.

ghost in a shell.

And that may be the hardest part about smiling at my depression, or my depression — at least as a parent. as a caregiver. as a mother. Because while my children bring me joy, when I’m sick, I can’t see them. While my children bring me warmth, and give me the coldest kisses and the warmest hugs, when I am sick, I cannot feel it. And while I laugh at their jokes, especially my son’s humor and my daughter’s frank but very funny antics, when I’m sick my laughter is empty. I’m empty.

Ironically, I am a mental wellness advocate. I encourage my children to talk about their feelings and my family and friends. I often ask those I love how they are doing – and if they are healthy. I’m an empath, maybe at fault, and I go to therapy to face my own demons. To banish voices and negativity. I also take medication to control my symptoms. To be a better person, father and wife. But my smile doesn’t mean I’m okay.

“Smiling depressed people are more often engaged or married, work, are resourceful, and educated,” reads an article from National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) explains. “Their public, professional, and social lives are not struggling. Theirs is, too put together And Superior. But behind the mask and behind closed doors, their minds are filled with thoughts of worthlessness, incompetence, and hopelessness.

The article continues: “There is a worrying relationship between depressive smiling and suicide.” “In contrast to a patient who has little energy to get out of bed, chronically depressed patients who report an excess of energy may be more likely to attempt suicide.”


So what can you do if you’re living with smiling depression? What should you do? First, you must persist. hour by hour. Day after day. Second, if you’re not already asking for help, do so. Talk to your friends and loved ones. Try to stop saying, “I’m fine,” and instead, open up. Keep up with essential activities if you can. Show up for treatment on appointments, for example. Take your medication as prescribed. And remember: you are not bad or broken. You are not weak or flawed. You are sick and need treatment. Take care of yourself as you would a sick family member or friend because darkness doesn’t last forever. Because grief transforms and eventually passes, and because there is always hope—even when it doesn’t feel like it. Even if it’s just a flash. spark. Think light.

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