40 Things 'Happy' People With Depression Wish They Could Admit to Their Friends
When we picture someone with depression, we often picture a specific “kind” of person with depression. Someone with greasy hair who hasn’t showered in a few days. Someone with a messy house who watches Netflix for hours on end. Or someone who skips out on social events to lay in bed by themself.
But depression looks different for everyone.
People who seem happy can still be struggling. People who are smiling can still be hurting. And when you seem OK to others, it can be hard to reach out for help or for friends and loved ones to know you may need more support.
That’s why we asked members our Mighty mental health community who struggle with depression but appear “happy” to share one thing they wish they could admit to their friends. Because sometimes it is our strong and happy friends who need someone to check in on them.
Here is what our community told us:
- “The fact that I feel obligated to be ‘happy’ around everyone because I worry if I share the reality of how I feel, they will either overreact or abandon me.” — Megan G.
- “Depression is a 24/7 illness. My friends think because I’m smiling that I must not be struggling with depression, but what they can’t see is the edge of the cliff I’m standing on in my mind. When you struggle with depression, it’s a full-time job to make sure others don’t see the pain because judging me is blaming me for something that owns me and makes me feel guilty!” — Christopher C.
- “I am aware they would see my pain if they cared to look and listen closely. As an empath, I see their struggles and care deeply. I just wish they cared about me as much as I care about them. I hide my emotions because when I express them, I am unheard.” — Dale W.
- “I’m dying inside. And all I want to do is die. I’m trying so hard. I wish you knew how bad I craved peace.” — Natalie H.
- “No matter how much I smile, how much I go out and ‘enjoy’ being around them, all I really want is to be curled up in bed hidden under my covers blocking out the world like I normally do daily.” — Bronwen P.
- “I need help, support and nonjudgmental understanding desperately — I want to reach out, but don’t want to disrupt other people’s lives for myself or be hurt again by trusting in the wrong person.” — Sarah S.
- “Although I may talk about big dreams and plans and be genuinely excited about them, I’m always terrified I won’t actually accomplish anything because my ability to physically motivate myself is near impossible most days.” — Sabreena D.
- “I don’t want to be doing things 99.99 percent of the time. I just want to sleep because then the sadness goes away. I wish they could see the inside of my house and how much the cleanliness suffers.” — Jessica T.
- “I am not always like this — there are a lot of days the mask comes off at home and I’m left with the mess. There are days I won’t shower, clean up or move from my bed. So when I don’t answer your phone calls or cancel last minute plans it isn’t you, it’s my depression.” — Phoenix G.
- “I’m not always the strong one. I’m not always the one who has all the answers, which they commonly believe. I’m not OK. And I haven’t been in a long time. When I say I’m busy, I’m probably crying and trying desperately to talk myself off the ledge of suicidal thoughts.” — Sloane S.
- “Even when they’ve shared good news and we celebrate, I don’t feel the happiness I should be feeling. I put on the reaction I know they need from me but inside I just want to be left alone and wait for my storm to pass. It’s not that I’m purposely being a bad friend, but I can’t truly feel joyful or excited around them when I should be.” — Amber C.
- “It’s all an act. The good grades, the smiles, the work ethic… all of it. The better I perform, the less I am asked. And if I’m not asked, then maybe I don’t have to dig deep to confront the real problem.” — Kristen B.
- “Please check on me. Just because I appear happy on the outside doesn’t always mean I am. I’ve skillfully developed a second personality essentially to combat my depression. A smiling, bubbly, energetic person which I’m totally not. Most of my friends haven’t even met the real me.” — Brittany L.
- “I am not the person that peoples look at on my Facebook pictures. I hide behind my smiles every single day so peoples around me will not know what I feel inside. I am exhausted to feel not good enough.” — Ira U.
- “The reason I don’t tell you the whole story when you ask ‘Are you alright?’ is because I’m honestly afraid. I’m afraid of revealing the constant struggle and then having it brushed off, misunderstood or gossiped about. All the times I cried alone or while driving back from some event where I was having fun will remain unknown to you, because I’m already fighting hard enough; I don’t want to risk fighting your rejection too.” — Jacinta M.
- “I don’t want to be fixed by anyone. I don’t want you to fuel the fire of emotions lit inside of me. Honestly, I just want to feel love, compassion and empathy. But the risk of not having that from a human being I love when I open my heart and share the deepest parts of me sometimes feels too risky.” — Dana S.
- “I’m the happy, fun friend because it’s easier to be that and hide how I feel inside and be accused of being boring.” — Becci P.
- “My public face is not my private face. I work jobs that are continually outpouring to others, giving them my time, energy, assistance, all I have. By the end of a typical day, after 12 hours of being ‘happy’ and ‘encouraging’ for others (genuinely), I often get hit real hard when I finally arrive home. I wish friends and family would understand that and not complain when I don’t make it to functions or remember to reach out. And during the day, just because I seem strong all the time for others, it doesn’t mean I’m not struggling internally. Sometimes the hardest days for me are the ones when you’d think I’m feeling my strongest. Looks can be deceiving.” — Chad M.
- “Although I look happy and always make them laugh, doesn’t mean I can’t be lonely. I always wish they are there every night when I’m alone, crying myself to sleep. I actually had tried to tell them this, but they didn’t take it seriously. Since they think I’m OK. Now, I think I am obliged to wear this happy mask whenever I’m with them. And it’s making me sad even more.” — Rea P.
- “I’m an extrovert. So I smile and laugh with my friends. What they don’t see is what happens when they go home. Jaded to the sensation of joy from the things I usually like, I stare at my Netflix queue, try to watch a few minutes of something but can’t bring myself to care. Try to play a video game, can’t see the point of it and turn it off. Read the same sentence in a book over and over, numb to it’s meaning, then stare at the ceiling and try to fall asleep because I just want the day to be over.” — Kitty C.
- “All I want to do is disappear. I continue on but almost always in the million things running in my mind is this: ‘I wish I could just disappear. I wish I could stop this charade and just become nothing because this is too much.’” — Jessica A.
- “My pain is constant. It’s non-stop. I can feel little bits of happiness, but it’s just a cruel tease. Most of the time I would prefer to retreat to my bed, far back in the corner, surrounded by my stacks of pillows and blankets. I wish I could communicate how this feels. It’s horrible, feeling worthless and exhausted — all the time. Even when I am happy, or appear happy, I am still in pain and miserable.” — Lisa S.
- “I’m not saying no to hanging out because I don’t want to see you, but I just can’t bear to peel myself out of bed and force a smile, so I don’t.” — Kayla C.
- “I’m a bottle of soda that’s constantly being shaken up by life. Some days the fizz dies down, but sometimes it explodes and runs over the top. Just because I look like every other bottle of Coke doesn’t mean I’m not trying to stop myself from exploding.” — Katy S.
- “I need help. I don’t feel OK. I need to talk to you. Sometimes I don’t feel like talking about it because I don’t want to bother the, or I don’t want to make them sad or I don’t want to be a stressful burden on them or I don’t want to create drama. Sometimes I feel like it is not important to talk about my sadness or doesn’t make sense. Sometimes I would rather talk to a professional about it, or my parents or my sister. I appear to be happy on the outside, but on the inside I appear to be depressed and bored when going through a hard time.” — Abbey D.
- “Being depressed is something I can’t describe. The feelings are so intense and painful I have to fake being happy so I don’t worry you.” — Carolyn A.
- “Depression has so many symptoms other than sadness. Even if I’m smiling, I’m probably exhausted and having difficultly concentrating. I may be struggling to eat healthy amounts of food and I’m constantly fighting the voice in my head that tells me ‘You’re not good enough.’” — Ali R.
- “Even though I play myself off as a hermit, I really wish more of my friends would visit or check in on me. I have one, maybe two people that checks in on me regularly and it makes me feel really alone.” — Kristi S.
- “If I share with you that I’m struggling I really mean it. It takes a lot for me to admit when I need help, especially since I’m the one who is always trying to be there for everyone else.” — Stephanie M.
- “I’m tired of being strong. I only look happy because if I’m not there for the people that need me, what kind of person am I? I’ll just feel like I let everyone down.” — Caelynn C.
- “I could smile at you or look in your face and genuinely be having a good time — and still think and fantasize about dying. It’s not your fault. It can’t be helped. But I can’t just switch it off.” — Kaeleigh N.
- “I’m honestly trying not to push any of them away. It’s hard because I’ve lost so many friends due to my depression, but the ones who still stand by my side mean the world to me” — Kailey D.
- “Just because I’m smiling today (or right now) doesn’t mean tomorrow (or an hour from now) I will be OK. I have to take it moment by moment.” — Nikki G.
- “Pretending to be happy also means I say yes to things I shouldn’t and I end up doing too much. I pretend to be happy to make people like me, and people liking me will only stick if I do want they want.” — Caro H.
- “I go above and beyond to keep them happy, I just wished they would do the same for me; forever taking advantage of my good nature, they don’t see the tears that fall behind closed doors” — Sam S.
- “I cannot stand the ridicule or pity that then comes with revealing what I am dealing with. Not to mention the moment it’s talked about people change and disappear completely.” — Becca L.
- “I feel obligated to appear happy. No one wants to know that you contemplate suicide every single day, multiple times a day. No one really wants to know you have wanted to die for over 18 years.” — Moon N.
- “I wish I could take off this mask without you judging me. That finally I could show you my true self without shame and fear that’s been following me this whole time.” — Andre D.
- “I’m too scared to reach out to the people who say they’ll be there for me because I don’t want to be even more of a burden than I already am on their lives” — Erin H.
- “When you don’t take time to learn how to help me it makes me feel worse. You are sometimes the reason it’s hard to get through the day.” — Gloria G.
Getty image via Allef Vinicius