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Life Behind the Smiles

By Martina R. GallegosPublished 7 years ago 2 min read
Picture Credit: Bin Thieu/

Nobody chooses to be sad or suffer from depression; many times it is situational depression caused by current, traumatic events or family dysfunction. Chronic depression comes and goes but can be just as dangerous, as it can lead to self-harm or suicide, a permanent solution to troubles and challenges. Some people suffer from genetic depression, inherited from parents.

Depression, like anything else, may develop differently in different people, and the signs or symptoms may be different as well.

The onset of depression may begin with the individual's lack of appetite, over-sleeping, isolation, social challenges, neglect of chores and personal hygiene.

The depressed person may seem or act happy one minute and sad the next, and they may say they're ok then leave the conversation.

They may start losing trust in family, friends, and their medical team, as well as feel people don't care about them anymore; they begin to feel like a burden to all around them.

This is a dangerous threshold, as the person may begin to have suicidal thoughts or feelings of self-harm.

If asked if they're contemplating suicide, they may deny it or become defensive and emotionally and physically charged. It's probably best not to push the issue but listen patiently until the individual feels they can trust the other person. They need to know they are worthy and loved human beings even when one hasn't learned to show affection or use terms of endearment. Keep a positive, humorous, and lively attitude toward the individual but don't be condescending.

Allow them to express themselves in any way they can as long as it is safe. Ask what they'll like to do to make them feel better; be sensitive when suggesting professional help but never demand it, or it will trigger a negative reaction.

Understand that this person is living in deep emotional and psychological turmoil even when they have a smile from ear to ear because nobody truly knows how they're 'feeling inside.'

Not even a person who's suffered from depression can truly understand or know what another is going through. To tell a depressed person, "I know and understand what you're going through; I've been there, too," is a slap in the face to the other person. Each sufferer carries their own, unique world on their shoulders; not even professionals can access or assess the patients' true feelings or state of mind because the patient has learned to navigate or manipulate the system in order to avoid psychiatric hospitalization.

There comes a time when health care practitioners lose sight of patients' needs and treat them like simple numbers; at this point, the patient loses another support network that they had trouble trusting to begin with. There's frequent and blatant abuse from medical staff towards patients, and patients always lose because nobody believes their 'lies.'

There are no patient advocates and abuse continues to go unchecked; there's no accountability at these facilities.

To point the obvious, depression is a family affair, and a daily roller-coaster whether the patient is hospitalized or at home; the whole ordeal is a downward spiral until the patient accepts and follows medical advice and takes and stays on meds for dear life, quite literally.

Nobody wants to see a loved one suffer from depression, but many of us know sooner than later, this will be an unavoidable reality. The important thing is to be aware of our own health, feelings, and emotions, and be proactive seeking medical help before it's forced upon us.


About the Creator

Martina R. Gallegos

Ms. Gallegos came from Mexico as a teen; she went to university, and got her teaching credential.She graduated with her M.A. June 2015 after a severe stroke. Works have appeared in Silver Birch Press, Lummox,

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    Martina R. GallegosWritten by Martina R. Gallegos

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