So often in the early days of my depression I would lie when someone asked if I was okay. I would smile, put on a good face, and say that I was fine because that is what I thought society expected. But the truth is that smile lied.
There are people out there who can tell the difference between a fake smile and a real one, but in passing interactions, I felt sure that most people wouldn’t pay enough attention to me to notice. I wasn’t important. They were being nice asking how I was, but they didn’t really care. Just smile, lie, and keep you head down.
At some point, in the darkest of my depressions, I couldn’t even fake it. I couldn’t put on that lying smile. Some people saw that, they saw my darkness. And in those moments I was sure they would leave. Once I lost that fake smile, they would stop pretending too.
Except they didn’t. Not all of them at least.
Sure some people left, but plenty stayed. And those that stayed gave me a true reason to smile. Realizing that they wouldn’t leave was an important step forward in my recovery.
Yet smiles lie in other ways. Some people expect that being at a stable place in my recovery means that I am more genuine. They think if I’m not smiling, I must be slipping back into depression. Sometimes thought, even when depression is far away, I simply don’t want to smile.
Because where ever I am in my journey with depression, I am more than just that darkness, I have emotions and thoughts and feelings that are separate from that. And sometimes, sometimes I just don’t want to smile. Maybe my team lost last night. Or maybe I’m just tired.
My point, is that is time we stop judging people based on smiles, because smiles lie. Moving past those lies helps create more authentic relationships. The kinds of relationship that might give many of us a true reason to smile.
Have a good weekend everyone.