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How do I explain my depression when everyone thinks I'm such a happy and positive person?

25 Answers
Last Updated: 11/06/2017 at 9:33am
1 Tip to Feel Better
Moderated by

Smita Joshi, BA Psychology / MA / Advanced EFT Practitioner


I am empathetic with my Clients going through emotional overwhelm and passionate in helping them. I am supportive, openminded & interactive in helping my clients.

Top Rated Answers
June 10th, 2015 10:40pm
Depression isn't only something you feel when you are a sad or miserable person. It doesn't go away just because things are better or you have a better life. Depression can be right there, in every moment you are happy or positive. It doesn't stop just because you are smiling and having a good time. The best way I've ever seen to explain depression was by a young man on a TEDTalk who explained that no matter how happy he always seemed it was like wearing a mask. A mask he could never take off. He would practice at being happy. He would look in the mirror and convince himself he was happy. But nothing could force him to truly be happy on the inside.
May 8th, 2015 5:18pm
I always say it's like drowning with your eyes open. You can see everyone and feel everything. You want to be happy but your constantly being drug further down and no one notices.
June 6th, 2015 9:47pm
I can say that depression isn't just the feeling of general sadness. You can go out with friends and have a great time with others and still have depression. Depression is when it's extremely difficult to get out of bed, you've lost interest in once pleasurable activities. Also, depression can show its symptoms at any stage of your life, even if nothing really triggered the symptoms.
April 11th, 2015 6:18pm
Everyone experiences depression differently. For some it might be a very personal journey, they keep hidden from the world.
September 21st, 2015 6:10am
Try to explain to them that depression isn't a characteristic, it's an illness. No matter how happy and positive your personality is, you can get depression.
September 8th, 2015 7:31am
I think that it may be important to identify why you feel the need to explain your depression. You owe nobody an explanation for your illness. You are who you are, and you do what you need to in order to recover and get better. Your health is your business, and you deserve your privacy. If you feel that others should know, or you want others to know because you need help, then you should feel no shame, and no fear in stating that you suffer from depression. If they do not understand, or are insensitive, there are many resources on the internet that you can refer them to in order to understand your condition better.
June 27th, 2016 6:59pm
In my opinion the happiest people can be the saddest sometimes. It was very hard for me to open up to people about it but I did open up to trusted family members & I felt much better after I had talked about what was going on.
July 20th, 2015 10:55pm
It can be very hard to explain, but that does not mean that people will not accept you for being a sadder person in general. Start small, start with little hints perhaps or sit the person down you trust most and say something like "do you know about depression?" "My doctor has been discussing with me the possibility of me having it" or even discuss it in a jokey manner to gage how your friends or family will react. This should affirm you it'll be ok.
February 7th, 2017 7:09am
You can tell someone that you feel a heavy weight on your chest or back, and you lack motivation to do things. Or even that you find it hard some days to get out of bed and do things. I would describe my depression as "a heavy weight" "It's hard to get out of bed" "It's hard to leave home" "my chest really hurts and it isn't physical" "heavy, deep, saddening"
August 22nd, 2016 9:12pm
Even the happiest of people are capable of being sad. Everyone has their bad days! So don't be afraid to speak up! You got this! Be brave! :D
January 31st, 2015 2:58pm
You just have to be honest with them. It might be hard for them to understand or accept but it's better for them to know the truth and understand what you're struggling with then pretending that there's nothing going on. In the end, hopefully if they truly care about you, they'll be appreciative of the fact that you were honest with you and support you.
November 6th, 2017 9:33am
Depression can be a confusing and scary think to discuss with others. Often people who have not experienced the illness will not realise that often symptoms are internal. The best strategy is to explain this to them. If you are able to explain that the emotions are kept inside, and that depression isn't always obvious, it will be easier for them to understand.
May 9th, 2015 6:56pm
I'm the same. I have depression but I always put on a front with my friends so they think I'm happy all the time (it's not true.) If you feel like you can trust your friends, it's important that you let them know how you feel so they could support you if you struggle.
December 29th, 2015 6:07pm
It is very hard to explain, only you will understand your depression, no one else will understand all of it, no one
February 16th, 2016 8:05am
You show them them the many reasons you got to be sad, and show them the only reason you've been happy. Tell them it hurts ... masking it up ...
February 22nd, 2016 11:20pm
Many people think that, because someone's smiling, they must be happy and cheerful, but, as you know, this isn't always the case. It can be difficult to explain to people how you feel on the inside, especially if it doesn't match their perception of how you feel on the outside. However, it is important to let them know how you really feel. How does one do this? The simplest way is to directly let them know that hey, you're going through a rough time right now, and though it may not seem like it, you need their support now more than ever.
June 13th, 2016 10:46pm
You need to make sure people understand what depreson is and that you dont want people to worry or reat you different so you act happy even though you are not
July 26th, 2016 2:05am
I know exactly what you're going through. You and I, along with many others are really good at hiding their depression. At first it might be hard, but you need to tell them how you feel. And trust me, it might be I little scary, but you'll feel less depressed once you do. Maybe you should try and show them a drawing of depression.
August 16th, 2016 11:48pm
This happened to me too, I always hided my depression because I wanted other people to be happy. You should tell them, tell may not believe you at first because of that mask, but eventually they will understand
October 11th, 2016 5:28pm
Depression does not always show on the outside. If you come across as a happy and positive person, then it's most likely that you're someone whose outlook on life others admire. But fighting depression involves cultivating self-love, and that only comes from the inside. You can be the most giving and loved person in the room and still suffer from depression. Having depression doesn't always reduce your desire to make others feel good as well. But what other people don't see is what you are feeling on the inside and that remains hidden unless you show it. It's always difficult to ask for help but it's the right choice!
October 18th, 2016 8:24pm
It's not about the way you present yourself on the outside, but rather the way you feel on the inside. If you feel sad or empty inside, you can still fake it on the outside sometimes. Just because you put up a good front doesn't mean you really feel that way. Think about actors - they don't always actually feel the emotions that they portray, but they fake it. A lot of people hide negative feelings because they don't want others to know or they don't want to bring down the mood or they're trying to fake it until they make it.
May 8th, 2017 4:28am
Nice Question! I would explain that depression is a complicated disorder that is not easily controlled, especially when things occur in life. Explain that Depression is caused by dysregulation and chemical imbalance of the brain and therefore, everyday maybe different. I would ask them to be patient and in between times you can still be a positive person.
June 4th, 2015 2:12pm
Say that you might seem one way on the outside, but that's not how you feel and that's not how things are on the inside - explain what your depression feels like as best as you can with your words.
July 6th, 2015 1:34pm
Masking emotions with "happy behavior" doesn't really change the deep emotions lying inside! While key symptoms of depression can be lethargy, disinterest, etc. that doesn't mean that the absence of those symptoms change whatever is going on in your head.
August 15th, 2016 8:20pm
This is how I would explain it, by you always fake a smile. You always "act" happy by faking a smile, then you a sad.