Smiling depression: A silent killer
“An ounce of joy conquers a tone of sorrow” while this might be true, there has always been an exception in every fact. You can get up each day, get dressed, show up for work, and continue to interact with others in a way that be lies how badly you are feeling inside.
You may not know otherwise that what you’ve been experiencing can be attributed to depression.
It’s like when sometimes you can’t see something-not because it’s not there but because it’s hidden.
Being able to feel all those depressed feelings but you still show to work and be with your family with a smile.
While the symptoms of major depression are
- Fatigue almost every day
- Feeling of worthlessness
- Insomnia or Hypersomnia
- Anhedonia ( inability to feel pleasure in normally pleasurable activities)
- Recurring suicidal thoughts
- Feeling of restlessness
- Significant weight loss
The symptoms of smiling depression are not the same. It’s the synonym of high functioning depression or persistent depressive disorder (PDD) or Dysthymia, a chronic level of sadness that can include sleep of appetite changes, feeling of hopelessness or fatigue, panic attacks and all.
It’s the busted myth of the depressed person as someone who stays in bed all day with the curtains drawn.
While the ability to do jobs, taking care of family, and even smile, laugh or maintain the sense of humor may be the definition of being mentally healthy, assuming you must be fine because you don’t fit the stereotypical picture of mental illness could do long-term harm to your health and well-being.
The way to know you have smiling depression is:
- It takes a serious effort to do your daily routine work and even if you do, you feel empty and disconnected.
- You feel like you are constantly faking it.
- The good days are relatively “normal”.
- The bad days are unbearable.
- Getting through bad days require an enormous amount of energy.
- Although you may work through the day, you have very hard time to focus on everything and feel exhausted.
- You struggle to focus and you feel like you are not performing to your full potential.
- Your self-care dropping off charts i.e. you spend so much energy keeping up with the bare minimum that you are skipping workouts, making unhealthy food choices and all.
- Constantly experiencing the cycle of negative emotions
- You dally in something called “passive suicidal ideation” which means you don’t actively plan to take your own life but don’t get distressed or upset on the thought of suddenly dying.
What should be done to overcome this?
First of dismiss the thoughts of guilt, shame for having the depression. It’s a medical condition like having a fever. You can’t cure it just by doing nothing. There is zero reason to feel embarrassed about saying you need help for it.
Then you have to consult a mental health professional if you notice that these symptoms last more than two weeks. You need to know which stage of depression you are in for the right treatment.
Treatment can be done by different methods such as: lifestyle changes, therapy and medication. You can choose from thee three or do the combination of all.
According to Karen Stewart, M.D., a psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente in Atlanta, Georgia, lifestyle changes involve paying attention to your diet, sleep, and exercise habits, while medication usually involves taking a selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), like Prozac, Zoloft, or Paxil, which can give you a much-needed boost of mood-improving serotonin.
And as far as therapy goes, cognitive behavioral therapy is a solid choice that will teach you how to manage your thoughts and behaviors to improve your overall mood.
Whatever treatments you choose, the key is to get help—both professionally and from trusted friends or family members. Like any other health condition, it will take time to feel better, but relief can be found.
You should always know that however impossible this condition it may seem to cure, it is not. It’s highly treatable and always take the steps to reach out foe help.