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Even though I know there are other depressed people in my life, why do they look so happy on the outside? How come I can't look that way?

33 Answers
Last Updated: 04/20/2020 at 9:00pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United Kingdom
Moderated by

Lisa Meighan, BSc Psychology (Honours)


Hello, I am Lisa and I work in a person-centred approach mixed with cognitive behavioural therapy. I believe we all have the potential to be the best we can be.

Top Rated Answers
February 23rd, 2015 6:04pm
Many of them don't want others to know how they are feeling so they lock it up inside and pretend to be happy on the outside, when in reality, they aren't happy at all. If you want to be truly happy while you have depression, try to do things you'd usually enjoy. To bring myself out of the dumps, I splurge on a Frappachino from Starbucks!
April 4th, 2015 2:01pm
Depressed people can have days where they are happy too, but then relapse into their unhappiness and the lasts much longer. Some days are better than others.
October 4th, 2015 10:24pm
Some depressed people put on smiles no matter what, because they don't want to worry people around them. Some are able to forget how they truly feel when they're around certain people. But don't try to become like those who put on a smile and are miserable inside or behind close door or when alone. Try to see what makes you depressed, do activities that help improve your mood and make small changes in your life. You don't have to pretend to be happy. You deserve to be 100% happy!
February 23rd, 2015 6:01am
Sometimes the first step in overcoming depression is to pretend you're happy. It can be very difficult for people to intuitively understand how you're feeling and it's important to consider that maybe you DO look that way.
October 4th, 2016 9:15am
Every day is a new challenge and a new day to find yourself and answers. Try your best, and smile :) Find the little things in life and cherish those. It's when we grow and overcome our obstacles that we find happiness.
August 15th, 2017 2:10am
Each one feels/shows depression in their own way. Many people pretend to be happy because they are afraid of judgement. Others may actually feel happy in that moment, since depression has its ups and downs. In the end, everyone's battling depression all the same.
January 2nd, 2018 3:33pm
The first thing to remember is you are unique. You should not compare yourself to others and feel sad about it. It is a good thing you want to feel happy despite your depression, and you can achieve that by self-care.
April 25th, 2015 1:48am
Many people with depression are afraid to seem not okay on the outside, myself included. So they put up the facade that they're okay and everything's fine. Not everyone can do that, and that's okay. Either way, that doesn't mean their depression is less serious, and it doesn't mean yours is less serious either. Depression is a personal experience and is different for everyone, and it's important to remember that.
June 17th, 2015 8:13pm
depression in based on fears that haunting us, forget that fear and feel reality. and leave the negatives in your life and find your positives and go after it
July 21st, 2015 3:30pm
some have been this sad for a long time and have simply trained themselves to look happy in front of others in order to avoid being asked questions about it, however it's not good to hide your true feelings
October 4th, 2015 4:46am
Their depression might get slightly better when they're around friends.
October 6th, 2015 3:57pm
Depression is a mental illness , it doesn't effect your appearance. maybe changing up your looks with brighter colors could help you keep more positive
November 17th, 2015 1:58pm
I think they don't want other to know what they truly feel because they don't think others understand. But it takes a lot of mental energy to hide the real feeling. I think it's OK for anyone to not be able to hide their feeling.
March 15th, 2016 9:45am
Depression is not always noticeable. Everyone reacts differently to the diagnosis and look different
April 11th, 2016 2:39am
Most people tend to hide how they feel and you most likely are hiding it but you feel like you aren't because you know it's there but others don't, others just see the front that you put up to hide behind
June 27th, 2016 2:50am
A lot of people with depression feel the same exact way that you do. I know in my experience I have dealing with my depression so long that I don't want my depression to taint the people around me so I school my features to not display how I feel. This is not healthy. Talk to someone you trust about how you feel! If you do not have a friend or family member you trust, try talking to a trained medical professional you can help you make sense of these feelings!
July 25th, 2016 9:30am
apart from depression cause incident or situation, there are many other things they need or have to do for their life, that depends up on person to person
October 25th, 2016 8:03pm
Different people handle their emotions in different ways - others show them whereas others hide them. Just because you show your depression, doesn't make you weaker or inferior. When I was depressed, I hid my depression well (or so I thought). However, I really didn't. People knew something was wrong - I was quiet, afraid, withdrawn. I just wasn't myself. Me showing my depression, got me the help I needed. It allowed people to reach out - even when I wasn't ready to reach out for myself.
December 12th, 2016 11:41am
Some people are afraid of showing what they really feel from the inside. They don't want other people to know what is happening to them so they put a mask on. But the saddest thing is that the mask is actually a really heavy one and hard to deal with and it probably breaks them even more. We can't say that being depressed but looking happy is a bad or a good thing. It just depends for the person itself. The only thing here to say is that there is no need to look happy on the outside if you don't feel like that from the inside :)
December 20th, 2016 12:52pm
I'm good at looking happy on the outside. It requires a lot of energy, and I can often only manage for short bursts. Afterwards I'm exhausted and need to sleep.
December 26th, 2016 5:46pm
Think of yourself, is there any time that you faked a smile? Some people fake their smiles in school, but not at home, some people fake at home but not in school, some people fake smiles more often than others. A person looking happy might not actually mean they are happy.
January 21st, 2017 2:39am
I know someone who seem to be always laughing and smiling, even when she's sad. It is a habit that she built when she was very, very young. It was so long ago that she doesn't remember when it started, but she has to try extremely hard to not smile and to let someone know that she's not okay. Even when she cries, if you talk to her, she will smile, and that makes everything worse. What I'm trying to say is, don't compare yourself to others or try to be like them. You might think that things would be easier if you could shut your feelings out and pretend to be happy, but when you really try do it, you realize that it still hurts and now you have an extra burden: maintaining that friendly smile so that people don't judge you. Instead of putting yourself through that, try to find something that makes you happy for real. Most importantly, believe that you can be happy and go find your happiness.
February 21st, 2017 2:08am
Each person is an individual. As individuals, we experience things differently which is why we should never judge ourselves. It is best not to compare yourself to another individual and even though that person may appear happy that is all it is. Privately, they may be crying or they may be contemplating suicide. I would suggest that you think about what you can change in order to make yourself happier.
March 20th, 2017 4:26am
Everyone deals with depression differently. This doesn't mean they feel any different to what you feel they just have a different way of coping with it. Don't be too hard on yourself :)
June 6th, 2017 12:59am
It is likely that the people you are referring to need help much more than you think. Putting on a smile through depression is only healthy for so long, and if it begins to become a mask that you wear, it is important to get help. The fact that you still show your emotions is a good sign. It is important to get support from your loved ones in order to feel really happy, instead of putting on that mask.
August 14th, 2017 4:58pm
Some people have the ability to adapt and adjust. Some people are better at putting on a happy face when happy is the last thing they feel on the inside. This isn't easy for everyone, and you shouldn't feel pressured to match others.
October 10th, 2017 1:46am
Depression is more than just sadness, and can be a mix of numbness, loneliness, frustration, hopelessness and so on. Depression definitely varies from person to person, but often it is not easily distinguishable, as that person may not want to be a burden to others. Perhaps the reason why you cannot be happy like they are is because you are in a different situation and have different experiences. For some, depression is easier to hide than others.
January 23rd, 2018 11:25pm
Depression looks different for every person. Some people use smiling as a coping mechanism, some don’t. That is okay if you don’t. Despite what many people think, you are not under the obligation to look happy until you feel happy.
January 30th, 2018 1:41pm
some people are better at hiding emotions that others, when you're down you could show it 2 ways be happy and ok on the out side but sad on the inside or sad and mad on the outside and happy and ok on the inside.
March 27th, 2018 3:47am
Depression is different for everyone, some people are able to mask it under as smile. Others, feel as if it is the unbearable demon making their life miserable. However, like I said. It's different for everyone.