The suicide of the Bollywood actor Sushant Singh in India paved the way for the debate on an important topic – Smiling depression. Reports say that he had been taking med for depression, while he was in a party with his friends even on his last night before the suicide. No one could see that Sushant was in depression.
There is no face or expression of depression. A person in depression doesn’t necessarily have to be sad or grieved. The recent cases of depression have taught us that depression isn’t so easy to identify or else a thousand lives could have been saved. The word ‘Depression’ is often linked with sadness and that the person would be socially-disconnected and emotionally-detached modes when he is into depression. This is not true! Sometimes smiling people are also into depression and this state is called Smiling Depression.
It is high time that we understand more about depression and its various types to save the lives of people around us. It is heartbreaking to lose someone to depression and we all can feel that. It is easy to lecture about depression and difficult to understand what a person goes through in depression. Until we ourselves bear the loss, we understand the value of mental health and disorders associated with it. It is comparatively easier to identify depression with sadness and equally difficult to depression with smiles. Many times, even the close people don’t get a clue of the ailing health of the person. Mental or mood disorders like depression need timely identification and treatment to prevent irreversible consequences.
When a person hides his depressive state with a fake smile on the face and normal gestures, he/she is a sufferer of smiling depression. However, this is not listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) but it is considered as a major depressive disorder (MDD) with nonconforming symptoms.
Symptoms of smiling depression:
Although it is tough to detect, there are some symptoms of smiling depression that may hint you:
- Loss of interest in things that you had loved once
- Loss of appetite
- Negative thoughts and talks
- Rapid weight loss
- Fatigue and passiveness
- Sounds hopeless
- Insomnia (sleeplessness)
- Poor concentration
Now that smiling depression is different from ordinary depression, its symptoms too vary. They are great pretenders. Sometimes it is due to empty nest syndrome. They might be throwing their biggest smile in public when their heart is aching. The unfortunate part is that people with smiling depression are more vulnerable than those with classic depression. This means they are capable to take a drastic step sooner. This makes this condition more dangerous than the usual depression.
Risk factors in Smiling depression
In most cases, patients of smiling depression are the ones with high hopes and ambitions. Failure in work, relationships, etc. are big life changes that hit them hard. People with unrealistic expectations when getting setbacks, they are highly likely to slip into depression. People who believe in perfectionism are also at greater risk of smiling depression. They don’t want to show their emotions and perfectly hide them behind the smiles.
How can we help?
If you suspect someone with this condition, show your genuine love, care and support. Listen to them and try to give suggestions that can help them. Cheer them up and try to boost their morale and self-confidence. Check up on them often either through call or physical visits. Ask them to follow a healthy diet. Convince and take them to a therapist for better treatment.