Smiling Depression -- This Is What You Need to Know

July 5, 2019 Mahevash Shaikh

Smiling depression is when a person who appears to be happy and healthy on the outside is actually depressed and ill on the inside. A person with smiling depression wears the mask of a smile to hide the fact that he or she is suffering from depression. Now, although it sounds like these people are donning happy faces on purpose, either to avoid discrimination or judgment, there's always the possibility that they are not even aware that they have depression in the first place. 

Smiling Depression Manifests at Work

The sad part about smiling depression is that it is very hard to detect. Since the person with it is high functioning, they don't act like they have depression. What this means is that the typical symptoms of depression like alienating yourself from others, struggling to meet deadlines, and failing to be productive do not show up.

On the contrary, the individual with smiling depression appears to be happy, social, and productive. The only way you can know that a coworker suffers from this kind of depression is if they confide in you about their persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness. A professional depression diagnosis and being completely honest with oneself is the only way for an individual to diagnose this condition. 

How You Can Help Someone with Smiling Depression

Once someone has confided that he or she has smiling depression or you have figured out that he or she suffers from it, the most important thing to remember is to not treat the condition lightly. It is as real as regular depression and validating it is important to begin to be able to deal with it. It's important to stress that seeking professional help is what's needed, but the next best thing is to be as supportive and empathetic as possible. 

Helping Smiling Depression at Work

Plan your work day in such a way that you are able to take regular breaks from time to time. If the management is supportive of mental health issues being discussed at work, confide in your boss and coworkers so that they are better equipped to help you deal with your condition. However, it's important to remember that even today, most workplaces are not supportive when it comes to mental health concerns. 

Therefore, whether you have smiling depression or you want to help someone deal with it, make sure you aren't creating more problems by letting others know of the situation. In case of ambiguity, it's best to confide only in those who are sensitive enough to deal with matters like depression. All in all, the best way you can help yourself or someone else is accepting that you have a problem and then figure out ways to deal with it as guided by a professional.

Take a look at the video below where I talk about whether or not you should tell your coworkers that you have smiling depression.

APA Reference
Shaikh, M. (2019, July 5). Smiling Depression -- This Is What You Need to Know, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 21 from

Author: Mahevash Shaikh

Mahevash Shaikh is a millennial blogger, author, and poet who writes about mental health, culture, and society. She lives to question convention and redefine normal. You can find her at her blog and on Instagram and Facebook.

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