Lying About Depression -- Smiling

January 1, 2020 Natasha Tracy

Lying about depression is common when you're seriously depressed. This isn't so much on purpose; it's just what happens. People tend to not want to hear about depression, and to bend to their will, we lie about it. When seriously depressed, we often lie when we laugh, lie when we share what's happening in our lives and even lie when we smile. But is every smile a depression lie? Is lying about depression bad?

Lies About Depression

When I talk about depression lies, what I mean are lies that you tell to hide your depression. We all have these. It's as simple as how you walk, sometimes. Depression typically wants you to hunch and hang your head. Maybe you fight that and stand tall even though you don't feel that way in the least.

My favorite depression lie is when people ask me how I am. I just say, "Oh, I have good days and bad days."

This isn't true. It's sort of half true. I have depressed days and more depressed days. But I lie to make other people feel better. It's just easier (not to mention less depressing).

Reasons People Lie About Depression

And making people feel better is one of the major reasons people lie about depression. Other reasons people with depression lie include:

  • To avoid unpleasant or painful conversations
  • To avoid stigma, prejudice and discrimination
  • To avoid talking about themselves when it's inappropriate (such as at work or in front of a young child)

I'm sure there are other reasons too (please share them below).

Lying About Depression -- Smiles

Sometimes even a smile is a lie about depression. I have gone through extremely long periods of time without wanting to smile -- probably on the order of months. But I didn't spend months not smiling. I smiled during that period, just like everyone else, it's just that those smiles were lies. I might have smiled for any of the above reasons but make no mistake about it, those smiles were lies about depression. (Although, it is important to note that while even while depressed, some smiles are, indeed, genuine.)

Is Lying About Depression with Smiles Bad?

Lying about depression is sort of a corner we're back into. In our society, we don't walk around discussing our innermost feelings and thoughts. And that's okay. The issue is that we're expected to share "light" things about ourselves ("I'm fine") and act happy regardless as to how we feel. That's just our society for you, and people with depression are just trying to fit into that, just like everyone else. So yes, we lie, even through smiles, but that's pretty much a coping skill needed to stay in society.

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2020, January 1). Lying About Depression -- Smiling, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, May 22 from

Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate, and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar. She's also the host of the podcast Snap Out of It! The Mental Illness in the Workplace Podcast.

Natasha is also unveiling a new book, Bipolar Rules! Hacks to Live Successfully with Bipolar Disorder, mid-2024.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar BurbleX, InstagramFacebook, and YouTube.

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