One night while they were hanging out, a woman recorded what she thought would be a cool video capturing her friend’s personality. She was smiling, dancing, laughing and seemed to be enjoying the company of her friends. Any stranger would believe that the woman was one of the happiest people in the world.
12 hours after her friend recorded the video, the woman committed suicide.
People may wonder how someone who seemed to be having a great time wanted to leave, and even more so, how did no one around her notice the signs that she was depressed?
The video prompted other people struggling with depression to show what depression can be like.
The woman is just one of many who are silently battling depression while putting on a smiling face in front of her family and colleagues. Her death was something that unfortunately no one could have predicted.
Depression isn’t just about crying and hiding your face from the rest of the world. It may look like laughing, smiling, and having fun with your friends.
Depression is one of the most common mental health conditions in the U.S., affecting more than 21 million adults nationwide. However, only half of them will continue to receive treatment. Instead, some of them try to live their lives as if their world doesn’t seem to be crashing down on them.
TikTok users suffering from depression have taken to the platform to share various depictions of how the condition can present itself and how easy it can be for others to consider them perfectly happy.
Despite the contrary belief, people with depression do not always cry or remain silent in a group of people.
They can laugh while celebrating a birthday, have fun with friends at a bar, tell jokes constantly, and dance like they don’t have a care in the world.
That’s the thing about depression. It doesn’t matter if it’s your birthday, if you’re a mother, how often you surround yourself with loved ones or how big your smile is, Kiera Cheyenne, a woman suffering from depression, shared on TikTok along with several video clips of her laughing and smiling with friends and family.
You really never know what someone is going through, so be kind. You are so loved, she adds.
Other users who didn’t post their own videos revealed similar experiences with depression in the comments.
This is just how I am and deep down I’m drowning in my own sadness,” one user shared.
I looked so beautiful in all my old photos, but my eyes were dead and no one knew why I had a beautiful smile, wrote another user.
Many of us may wonder why people with depression hide their silent struggles from the rest of the world, including their loved ones, and why they refrain from asking for help.
While everyone’s explanations may be different, in modern society, where education, work and independence are often prioritized over our mental health, negative stigma around depression also arises.
People with depression may have a fear of being perceived as weak or incompetent, of being judged unfairly, and of a general feeling of helplessness and despair. They may also believe that their depression is a burden on those around them and a problem that they, and only they, can solve on their own, without anyone’s help.
Other people may have difficulty opening up and explaining to others what they are feeling, as depression can be a variety of emotions that even those who have it may have difficulty understanding and describing.
Unfortunately for some people, like the woman who was dancing happily in front of her friends, the condition will consume them to the point where they feel they have no way out as long as they live in the physical world. Even if they really don’t want to die, they want the pain to stop.
It’s important to check in on your “happy” friends, who may not appear to be depressed.
Although your loved ones may seem happy and fulfilled on the outside, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check in on them. Even if they never say a word about their feelings, it’s still important to remind them that you’re here to listen. Whether it’s a shoulder to cry on or a helping hand, extending support to those who are silently struggling will mean more to them than you can imagine.
The reality is that depression is not presented as the sadness and tears that we all believe it to be. It may be hidden under a mask of smiles, laughter and joy.
There’s no shame in opening up about our true feelings, even if they don’t paint a pretty picture. Your loved ones would rather hear your story than attend your funeral.
If you are having suicidal thoughts, help is available. Call the Suicide and Crisis Hotline on 988, where crisis counselors are on call 24/7.
Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love and relationships.
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