Smiling Depression

What? You suffer from depression? But you’re always so bubbly, the life and soul, you always make me/us laugh… how can you suffer with depression? You’ll be fine, you’re just down at the moment, pull yourself together!

Is is any wonder, based on the comments that I received above, that those us that suffer with this sometimes debilitating disease, don’t speak out and certainly don’t ask for help when really we’re crying out for someone to hold our hand, someone to look us in the eye and say “you’re really not okay are you?”… someone to care.

I was diagnosed clinically depressed in 2010, about 10 months after my husband walked out. At first I coped, Christmas on my own? Nah, not a problem! Go out and socialise? Yep, count me in… and then small things happened, I can’t even remember what they were now, but I dreaded weekends, dreaded leaving the house, dreaded another day sobbing uncontrollably but not really knowing why. My mother knew something was wrong when I said I didn’t want to go on my cruise I had booked (my favourite thing in the world). Finally, a sympathetic doctor took the time and whilst I sat and sobbed in their office, they gently said I was clinically depressed and even then I denied it! Who me? Nah!

Six years later and after two bouts of CBT, I’m still struggling – again because of a combination of “things”. What’s the point? Why bother? Why struggle anymore?

So why “smiling depression”? Because I believe that’s what I suffer with, or sometimes know as PHD (Perfectly Hidden Depression). I function, I hold down a job, I smile, I laugh, I jolly other people along, I am the life and soul… All of which is carefully constructed mask that’s quickly removed in the safety of my own home where I’m tearful, I’m exhausted, I’m drinking booze and eating nothing.

When I was a little girl, laughing at the clowns at the circus, I was told that sometimes the clowns are the ones who are the saddest people…

My name is Karen – I am the clown…

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