Many times we come across many people who smile a lot. While it may seem good at first and we rate that person as jovial, soon we start having our doubts. There are many people in the world who just try to look happy but in reality are struggling with depression. In their effort to look normal and happy to the world, at times, they overdo it and there are those who can completely fool us with their happy-go-lucky behavior.
Totally depressed people are often bed-ridden and incapable of normal functioning. According to a study carried out by the National Institute of Health, around 10% of the people in the U.N. suffer from depression. Depression affects everyone in a different way. While some have severe and obvious symptoms, there are some who may be doing all their day-to-day activities and smiling normally but are actually depressed.
There are some who appear to be surprised when told by their medical practitioners that they are suffering from depression. Such people have ‘smiling depression’. They appear happy to others and are literally smiling but are actually suffering from depression. It is tough to detect smiling depression. Such people are often unaware of their own symptoms. At times, even if they get depressive thoughts repeatedly, they brush it aside and are often scared to take help for the fear of being termed as ‘weak’.
Such people are sad from inside. They try to cover up their sadness by smiling too often as a defense mechanism. The sadness could be due to unsuccessful relationships, failure in career, academic failure or a feeling of worthlessness. They might be enveloped in a regular feeling of sadness feeling that nothing is right about life but they are unable to detect the cause. They often feel fatigue, irritability, worthlessness, anger and anxiety. They have trouble sleeping and do not enjoy fun activities. They may even have lack of sexual interest.
Its tough for a normal person to find out that something is wrong with these people as they constantly wearing a mask of happiness and under the façade of ‘normal life’. Such people are more dangerous than those with severe depression. They get suicidal thoughts often and because they are in a saner frame of mind when compared to severely depressed people, they plan their suicide process efficiently.
The good news is that this form of depression can be totally curable. Proper medications and counseling can help such a person navigate his way out of this mental state. For a friend or a well-wisher to persuade the depressed patient to seek help is another challenge as such people completely deny their depression.
The key to treating this condition is acceptance of the problem. Once that is achieved, the problem is easy to cure. Friends, well-wishers or relatives should gently but constantly share feelings and opening up to such people. Try behaving as a confidant to them so that they open up and discuss their feelings in detail. If left untreated, the depressed feelings pile up leading to severe complications mentally. The only challenge in this condition is to reach out for help.
Smiling Depression Test
A famous scientist name Dr. Evan Goldberg has come up with a simple test to diagnose ‘smiling depression’. Though it’s not a final diagnosis, yet it can help an individual analyze on a personal level and according to his score can seek professional help.
If you doubt yourself or your friend to be suffering from some kind of depression, taking a short smiling depression quiz would help you know yours or your friend’s situation better.
Just answer the below mentioned questions and if 5 or more answers are in positive, then you might need help.
- You feel that you do things very slowly.
- Your future seems hopeless.
- I have concentration issues while studying or reading.
- I don’t enjoy pleasurable activities any more
- I find decision making quite tough
- I am constantly sad, depressed and frustrated.
- I am constantly tired.
- I am seldom in a relaxed state of mind
- I feel guilty about things I am not clear about and want someone to punish me.
- I feel I am a failure
- I feel empty from within
- I often wonder on how can I commit suicide
- I am not happy even when something good is happening to me
- Unexplained weight gain or weight loss.
Such self-tests are usually helpful for the individual to realize that he/she might need psychiatric help.
Smiling Depression Symptoms
5 out of the below mentioned 9 symptoms clearly depict that you are suffering from depression:
- Lack of sleep or excessive sleep
- Irritability most of the day
- Lack of interest in pleasurable activities
- Unexplained weight loss or weight gain
- Feeling of worthlessness
- Tiredness and loss of energy
- Guilty feeling
- Lack of concentration
- Frequent suicidal thoughts.
Smiling Depression Treatment
This kind of depression can be treated easily. Following listed are some ways in which this disorder can be treated:
- Therapy: After many months of trying to ignore their symptoms, the individuals mostly try to seek outside help. Sometimes, a well-wisher can also persuade the depressed person in taking psychiatric help. A therapy with a practicing counselor can help the person come out of his suffocating cobwebs of depression. Depressed people often have inaccurate or negative interpretations of small situations. A therapist can help him/her see things in a different perspective and change the distorted thought process and feel more positive and happier in life.
- Continue your day-to-day work with normalcy: The depressed person should continue doing his socializing, work and day to day activities as if nothing is wrong. Time would eventually heal his problem with proper medication and counseling but there is no need to quit on your work and sit at home. Socializing, meeting new people and getting busy with work helps one get rid of depression. Also, maintaining a journal with all the day-to-day activities and thoughts also helps the person to fight depression.
- Healthy diet: A healthy diet is the key to all the health and happiness in the world. According to some doctors, a gut is considered to be the ‘second brain’ of the person and whatever we put inside it helps to improve the mental health of the person. Serotonin is an enzyme secreted in the gut which helps to regulate a person’s mood. Anxiety or depression is often triggered by lack of serotonin. Some vegetables, oats, healthy carbs, whole grains and barley help to increase the production of serotonin in the body.
- Light Therapy: Winter months often trigger depression as they are low in sunlight. Less sunlight means less vitamin D. One should at least get 20 minutes of vitamin D daily. Light therapy given to patients suffering from Smiling Depression or any other seasonal depression often gives positive results.
- Exercise and Yoga: Yoga and exercises help in calming the mind and generate some feel good hormones in the body. These are of great help to those suffering from smiling depression. Acupuncture is also a great way of treating patients as it is medication-free and non-invasive.
How is Smiling Depression dangerous?
Chronically depressed patients have little energy to plan out their suicide efficiently even though they are constantly jeopardized by such thoughts. Smiling Depression patients are generally more active than chronically depressed people. They can plan out their suicide properly. Hence such people are more dangerous when it comes to suicide.
Why is smiling depression so common these days?
Following mentioned are 5 reasons why depression is getting alarmingly common these days:
- Junk food: Another name for junk food is processed food and this directly has a relation with depression. The body does not get the essential vitamins and minerals required for the proper functioning of the brain and other body organs.
- Metal contaminants in the air, water and other sources: Lead, mercury, cadmium and other metals like these are rampantly found in vaccines, industrial dumps, fish and practically everywhere nowadays leading to heavy metal toxicity in the body. This disables the brain and the other body organs to function properly and might lead to depression.
- Lack of sunlight and exposure to natural and fresh air: In our too busy lives, we forget to take out time for a walk in the fresh morning air, or take some essential sunlight leading to lack of essential vitamins in the body. Lack of vitamin D found in the sunlight causes depression.
- Not sharing your feelings: Many of us keep our feelings and thoughts to ourselves these days due to fear of being too open or fear of being laughed at. Pile up of such thoughts lead to misery and depression.
- Importance of wealth, materialistic things on the rise: everyone wants to own and buy everything and that is not possible. Jealousy, competition and feeling of low self-esteem is on the rise due to the pleasure in seeking costly materialistic things. These ultimately bring depression. People have forgot to find happiness from within.