Look Beyond The Smile | Life Love and Hiccups: Look Beyond The Smile
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Monday 3 March 2014

Look Beyond The Smile

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Today I was told about the death of yet someone else via suicide and it has touched on a very tender spot in my heart for more reasons than one.

This tragedy involved someone I have only met once or twice, but it was someone with a family and people who loved him and are devastated by their loss. It was a fellow soul.

This follows on from the shock of the tragic death of Charlotte Dawson last week and to be honest I haven't been able to stop thinking about her either.

She was someone I had never had the pleasure of meeting and I didn't know her in any other way other than through the images of the stunning woman I saw on TV and in the media.

She had a beautiful smile, that's the thing I notice most about her when I see the photos in the press. It's the thing I typically notice about everyone I meet, but then I am always looking to see if there is something more beyond the smile.

You see, many of us who have struggled with depression become very good at putting on smiles. It's our armour ...along with the standard "yeah I'm good thanks" response many of us unconsciously give when we are asked how we are.

I do that smile well and I fooled many for years with my own version of it. No one ever knew the struggle that was going on inside of me because I hid it from them, even those closest to me... Truth be told I was always trying to hide from it myself too.

There are so many reasons people hide their depression behind a big smile. Fear of judgement, or not being understood. Maybe it is because we are confused about how we are feeling, don't know how to ask for help or sometimes it is just easier to pretend to yourself that everything is OK when you can successfully convince everyone else.

I'm OK right now, truly I am - that's not why I am writing this.

My point is for this post to act as a reminder to us all to look beyond the smile people unconsciously give us and to trust our intuition. If you have a gut feeling that something is not right with your friend, loved one, workmate or neighbour - don't necessarily take the smile and "yeah I'm good thanks" as the green light to walk away.

Sometimes we need to gently peel away the facade before we uncover the truth and see their struggle and the time we invest in doing this could be all that is needed to make a big difference to someone who is struggling. Quite possibly that time and effort could even save a life.