Am I faking depression?

In this article, we will navigate our way to how to find if someone is faking depression. But prior to this, we will understand what is faking depression called, is smiling depression mean you are faking depression, the symptoms of smiling depression, and three things that people only with smiling depression will understand. 

What is faking depression called? 

Depression is serious and a common medical disorder that is been faced by most of the world population. However, there have been various cases of people faking depression. This phenomenon of faking depression is known as malingering. It may involve fabricating symptoms of depression (or another mental health condition) in order to avoid work, military service, or jury duty or to obtain something such as prescription medications. 

However, malingering is no psychiatric condition, unlike factitious disorder. A factitious disorder involves faking symptoms of an illness without a clear motive or reward.

However, a few people may feel that their symptoms of depression are not up to the mark. They may feel that they are not severe to be diagnosed with a clinical disorder. In this case, it might come off as they are faking depression. However, this is not true. 

What is smiling depression? 

Generally, sadness related to trouble, torpidity, and sadness — somebody who can’t make it up. Despite the fact that somebody encountering despondency can without a doubt feel these things, how wretchedness introduces itself can differ from individual to individual. 

“Smiling depression” is a term for somebody living with despondency within while showing up entirely cheerful or content outwardly. Their public life is generally one that is “set up,” perhaps what some would call ordinary or awesome.

Does smiling depression mean they are faking it?

No certainly not. Smiling depression is not something that is recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Keeping this in consideration, people tend to believe that depression is associated with basic sadness and loss of interest. Therefore those who face smiling depression, are considered to be faking depression. However, on the contrary, smiling depression is quite a real phenomenon. 

Just because one does not show the physical features of depression certainly does not mean that they are not dealing with those thoughts of worthlessness and fatigue, etc. 

One the best example of smiling depression would be the character of batman. Batman is most certainly seen to be depressed after the death of his parents in front of his won eyes. However, he does not show any conventional signs of depression. In fact, he stands with the sim to make Gotham a criminal free city. This is the best comic example of smiling depression. 

Symptoms of smiling depression 

Someone with smiling depression may experience some or all of the above, but in public, these symptoms would be mostly — if not completely — absent. To someone looking from the outside, a person with a smiling depression might look like:

  • an active, high-functioning individual
  • someone holding down a steady job, with a healthy family and social life
  • a person appearing to be cheerful, optimistic, and generally happy

If you’re experiencing depression yet continue to smile and put on a façade, you may feel:

  • like showing signs of depression would be a sign of weakness
  • like you would burden anyone by expressing your true feelings
  • that you don’t have depression at all, because you’re “fine”
  • that others have it worse, so what do you have to complain about?
  • that the world would be better off without you

If you’re facing this, it may be a good idea to seek the help of a therapist or other mental health professional. You can find a therapist at BetterHelp who can help you learn how to cope and address it.

3 things people with smiling depression feel

It is not easy to understand what a depressed person is feeling. However, it is even more challenging to understand what a person with smiling depression feels. 

They do not want to upset anyone

Individuals with smiling depression may feel answerable for others’ emotions just as their own. For instance, an adolescent with smiling depression may not need their folks to feel stressed or their companions to feel troubled or exhausted by their issues. Keeping up the grinning façade doesn’t successfully ease the downturn, however, it appears to keep others around them upbeat. 

They may fear baffling others, neglecting to satisfy their own principles, or being viewed as frail, frustrating, or questionable. These feelings of trepidation cause them to conceal the indications of sadness that others are probably going to perceive. Nonetheless, they actually experience troubling manifestations like nervousness, loss of craving, misery, exhaustion, dread, sleep deprivation, or meddling considerations. They simply don’t show or discuss them.

They want to share their feelings, but cannot 

Stowing away or concealing a significant issue like misery resembles building an imperceptible divider between the discouraged individual and the individuals around them. The more it goes on, the higher and more impervious the divider becomes. An individual with smiling depression may perceive that they need to uphold, yet feel incapable to get the words out whenever they get the opportunity to. 

An individual who has smiling depression may feel like they should clarify their ostensibly upbeat conduct on the off chance that they admit to feeling discouraged, and they may not have sufficient willpower for the job – or fundamentally even comprehend it themselves all around ok to clarify it. The more they continue introducing a grinning face to the world while internally experiencing gloom, the harder it might feel to clarify.

They  Want to Feel as Happy as they Look

Smiling depression could be an attempt at a “fake it till you make it” approach to depression. That is, the person may believe that by smiling, laughing, and going about their day-to-day life as if everything were OK, they can eventually force themselves to feel OK.

“Fake it till you make it” can be an effective strategy in certain situations. In therapy, this is sometimes referred to as acting “as if”. For example, if you want to be more confident, you can act as if you were more confident by doing what a confident person would do in a given situation – say, introducing yourself to a stranger at a party or boldly talking up your accomplishments and skills in a job interview

However, there are also times when acting as if, or faking it, doesn’t work at all. For pervasive, long-lasting depression, it takes more than just acting happy to actually bring on feelings of happiness. Faking it also tends not to work when the person is doing it more for other people than for themselves. Acting happy just to please the people around you or make them more comfortable can actually be quite isolating, and that feeling of isolation may make depression worse, not better.

How to know if someone is faking depression? 

Here are a few ways to find out if someone is faking depression 

  • Creating drama and fuss 
  • Self-harm 
  • Depressed about certain things only 
  • Blame-Game
  • Passive-Aggressiveness
  • The Act of Helplessness

There may not be any telltale signs to indicate that someone is faking mental illness or not. Professionals may need an extended period of time working and evaluating someone to be able to recognize fake versus legitimate symptoms. However, some indications of faking mental illness can include exaggerating any existing symptoms, making up medical or psychological histories, causing self-harm, tampering with medical tests, or malingering. Overall, however, it can be harmful to assume that someone is faking mental illness.

Creating drama and fuss 

People who are experiencing depression usually are very quiet about it. They sit silently, doing nothing. However, those who are faking, usually make a huge fuss out of it. They do not see if someone is around or not. People who are faking depression, usually try to gain the attention they are lacking. 


As mentioned above, people who fake depression, usually try to harm themselves. They may cut their wrists and harm themselves. But if seen closely, one can recognize that those are mere scratches that are pulled by people who are faking depression, in order to gain some attention. 

Depressed about certain things only 

People who are actually dealing with depression are sad about every aspect of their life. The most important fact about people who fake depression is that they are only depressed about certain things. They are happy half of the day and the other half they show that they are depressed.


Once you are talking to someone about their depression, and the person might be faking it, they very obviously and casually put the blame on others including you for their situation. In contrast to this, people are actually dealing with depression, do not even bother talking about their condition. This is a very important difference between people who fake and those who actually deal with depression


The most common thing to observe to know if someone is faking depression is to check the passive aggressiveness in them. People who want attention and compliments are the people who show passive-aggressiveness. They may taunt you slyly to get things out of you. In any case, if you have refused to help them due to whatever reason, they will certainly come back to you about it. 

The Act of Helplessness

People who fake depression show that they are helpless in each and every situation. They keep showing people that they are depressed and cannot do anything on their own. They always want the help of others even to do the basic things or somethings that are meant to be done on their own. For instance, it may be possible for students to fake depression only to avoid doing their assignments. Every time someone talks about doing an assignment they may show that they are helpless and cannot do it by themselves. 


In this article, we have navigated our way to how to find if someone is faking depression. But prior to this, we have understood what is faking depression called, is smiling depression mean you are faking depression, the symptoms of smiling depression, and three things that people only with smiling depression will understand. 

FAQs: Am I faking depression? 

Is it possible to diagnose yourself with depression?

There are various self-report or self-assessments that one can take to understand if they are dealing with depression. However, it is best that you go to a mental health professional for diagnosis, as they are the only ones who can do so. 

Why Googling symptoms is a bad idea?

In addition to incorrect diagnoses, self-diagnosing your symptoms using Google can actually mask a potentially dangerous disease. So, apart from the sketchy and inaccurate diagnosis of innumerable medical websites on the internet, it is the risk of not being able to identify a disease correctly that is worse.

Who is most likely to suffer from depression?

Major depression is most likely to affect people between the ages of 45 and 65. “People in middle age are at the top of the bell curve for depression, but the people at each end of the curve, the very young and very old, may be at higher risk for severe depression


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