What mask are you hiding behind this Halloween?
But why do we love dressing up so much? For some it’s the fun of being a kid again. For others a chance to express their inner creativity and craftiness. But dressing up also allows us to wear a mask (either literally or just figuratively), role play, get into the shoes of a character and play pretend.
We all wear masks from time to time. Sometimes for fun like Halloween but other times it’s not so fun. Everyone can relate to pretending to like that awful Christmas gift to not hurt friends feelings. But what if you had to pretend all of the time? How could you tell if a friend felt they had to wear a mask?
Hiding behind a smile
Smiling depression is a term used for someone who is depressed, but doesn’t look it and often won’t admit it. To everyone else, they give no hint of their problem and can hold down a full-time job and enjoy an active social life. But underneath they could be suffering panic attacks, insomnia, low self-esteem and depression.
More common than you might think
Recently, comedian David Walliams from the comedy show little Britain admitted he’s suffered with depression for much of his life. He is one of a long line of comedians who have battled depression including Stephen Fry, Ruby Wax, Lenny Henry, Ben Stiller, Jack Dee and Jim Carey. These comedians chose to mask their depression with a cheerful exterior.
But while hiding behind a smile can seem like the best thing to do in the short run it is actually the worst thing you can do in the long run. This is because by not recognising that you are going through a tough time you never deal with what is going on. This means that your tough time will last even longer and be more severe. By not opening up to others about what you are going through you are depriving your friends and family of the opportunity to help you and you are cutting yourself off from support.
What you can do
Open up; tell someone what you are going through. Speaking to somebody outside of the situation will help you release tension, see things from a different perspective and come up with new strategies to get through your tough time. If you are worried about a friend, make sure they know you are there for them and willing to listen if they need to talk.
Is the mask you wear for Halloween the only mask you have?