Those who have depression are familiar with the common symptoms: low mood, crying as well as feeling isolated.
But one particular condition does not always follow this blueprint.
Olivia Remes, University of Cambridge researcher, shares how there is a condition that can be hidden behind a mask of happiness — making it a type of depression difficult to diagnose.
The term is known as “smiling depression,” where one appears to be happy around others while internally, they suffer depressive symptoms.
And sadly, it is becoming increasingly popular.
While smiling depression is technically not a term that psychologists use, it is very possible to be depressed and successfully cover up the symptoms.
The closest technical term for this condition is called “atypical depression.”
A large proportion of people who do experience a low mood and a loss of pleasure in activities successfully hide their condition this way.
These particular people may be vulnerable to suicide.
While they smile when you say hello, carrying on pleasant conversation — it is a cover up to the turmoil that is going on inside.
And while they feel hopeless along with thoughts about ending it all, the strength they have to go on with their daily lives is a contrast to other forms of depression.
Symptoms of this condition include overeating, feeling a sense of heaviness in the arms and legs as well as being easily hurt by criticism or rejection.
Those with smiling depression are also more likely to feel depressed in the evening as well as feel the need to sleep longer than normal.
It seems that smiling depression seems to be more common with people with certain temperaments linked to being prone to anticipate failure, having a hard time getting over an embarrassing or humiliating situation and ruminating on negative situations.
If you suffer from either smiling depression or believe you might be dealing with something similar, it is important to get help.
A few tips on how to help break the cycle?
Knowing that this condition exists and it’s serious, for starters.
It is only when we stop rationalizing away or issues because we believe they are not serious enough can we begin to make a real difference.
Secondly, meditation as well as physical activities have been shown to have massive mental health benefits.
According to a study by Rutgers University, it revealed that those who had done meditation as well as physical activity twice a week experienced a 40% drop in their depression levels in just eight weeks into the study.
Cognitive behavioral therapy to learn how to change your thinking pattern is also a great way to work through depression.
And last but not least, finding meaning in life is the most important.
And finding meaning in life is of utmost importance.
Striving for something in life, taking the attention away from ourselves and placing it onto something else helps, as well as caring for others can dramatically help.
When we feel like our lives matter — which is what gifts us purpose and meaning — this can be a significant difference for our mental health and well being.
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