Don’t Hide Your Pain: “Smiling Depression”
About seven years ago, I walked inside a Subway I frequently used. I walked in and I was overly excited. I asked for my “Muscle Meal”, which they knew I called it. I remember flexing my muscles in excitement. One lady mentioned that she loved my energy. But, here is the thing. Little did she know that a few hours later I would be in tears and depressed.
Today, when I go out, my excitement, my passion, my smiles and my laughs are genuine and real. It is because I found my happiness. But, back then you could not tell.
There is a term they call this — “Smiling Depression.” It is when someone with depression hides their pain for multiple reasons.
This is why I can’t stress enough about how important it is to be kind to people. Because you can see them from the outside, but you have no idea what is going on in the inside. There are many people who can hide it well.
If you are one of those people who may have this, then I want you to know a few things.
You are NOT a burden
You never were and you never will be. What you have is a burden and a bully that is tormenting your life. Please remember that. You are not a bother to anyone, especially not to me. I don’t want you to get the idea that you are not allowed to tell others how you feel. YES you can. And I encourage you to speak as much as you want. There are many people who want to listen to you.
Do not be embarrassed
You have nothing to be embarrassed. Why are you embarrassed? Depression is not who you are. You are an amazing human being that is living with an illness. But it does not define you. You must separate yourself from it and remember depression is the embarrassment because it hides and is invisible. However, you are NOT. Don’t feel insecure about this. Always remember it is NOT you.
Do not be ashamed
Just like embarrassment, you have nothing to be ashamed of. Don’t blame yourself and do not feel guilty. Depression is a mental illness. It is something you never asked for and it is something that does not go away on its own. If you reach out, you can get the support you need through CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) counselling and qualified professionals who deal with depression. Another reason depression hides, is because it is a coward and should be ashamed of itself, in addition to being repulsive. You on the other hand are a beautiful soul physically and mentally. So be proud of who you are. And who you are is NOT your depression, rather you’re a light and a blessing to so many.
Talk to someone and do not worry about people who judge.
Yes, there are people out there who judge. That’s because they are ignorant and misinformed about what mental illness is. Your story can be an inspiration for others. Your story can be the reason why people would want to change their life. But, people have to know your struggle first. It’s the struggle, the perseverance and finally the overcoming that tells an inspirational story. This is what you are going to tell.
When I shared my story from my struggles to triumph, I was not worried about being judged. Rather I focused on the ones I wanted to inspire. The people who read my story were so proud of me, because I had the courage to share my story with them. NOT ONE person judged me.
If people judge you for having depression, let them. Do not concern yourself with their insecurity and their unhappiness. Happy people do not judge. If people judge you, then remember they are not too happy with themselves.
Don’t worry about telling others you are depressed. This is the start of where your journey is going to take you. This is only the beginning of your story, not the end. Have the courage to start by telling someone you trust that you have depression. It is okay. You will feel better that it’s not bottled up anymore. You don’t have to fight this alone my friend.
You are not small
Depression does not make you weak or small. It makes you strong and unique, because you have been through so much in your life and yet you are trying your best every single day. You continue to endure it like a strong, exceptional person.
You do not have to be in denial
Embrace it. It is okay. As I mentioned, you are not your depression. Accept it. Now come up with a plan after you talk to someone and take the first steps to embrace your new life.
You do not have to be perfect to be happy
Never be afraid to show your imperfections and flaws. This does not make you less of a person, worthless or inadequate. In fact, it makes you unique. It is okay not to be perfect. Depression does not determine how adequate and worthy you are. It is not a flaw or weakness. As I noted earlier, you must separate yourself from it.
Don’t hide your pain. You do not have to fight this on your own. Imagine having a support team behind you cheering you on. Don’t you think that you have gone through enough? You do not need to suffer anymore.
Getting treatment happens when you reach out. If you do not ask, then how can others help? I was an open book and that was the best thing I could do.
Just remember, you will ALWAYS be the same lovable, loved, kind and charismatic person that people adore about you.
It is time to make a decision to change your life and reclaim your true happiness. So that one day when you go out and show the world your great smile, it will be because you truly feel HAPPY.
The next chapter in your life is where you kick ass, overcome and inspire the world. DO NOT QUIT!
God bless you and take care. Never give up. Keep moving forward. Believe in yourself. Be a legend.