People are sharing pictures to prove that depression isn’t always visible

When we think of depression, we tend to picture someone who cries a lot, who isolates themselves from others or who is barely able to get out of bed or function normally. But these stereotypes aren’t necessarily accurate.

The reality is that depression can be very hard to detect, especially as many people with depression work hard to present a happy face to the world. They don’t want to be a burden, so they focus all of their effort on hiding their overwhelming sadness and emptiness.

Unfortunately, as a result, these people often do not get the help they need. In an effort to change this and to educate people that depression can take many different faces, there is a new viral movement called the #faceofdepression.

People with depression share photos and videos with the hashtag, as do those who have lost loved ones to suicide. And here’s the most shocking part: Most of the photos show happy, smiling people. You would never know that the person in the picture was hiding inside of themselves pain, hopelessness and a sense of worthlessness.

One of the most touching videos comes from the wife of Chester Bennington, a talented artist and family man who recently took his life after a battle with depression. The video, taken just 36 hours before the Linkin Park singer committed suicide, shows him laughing and goofing off with his kids… a far cry from the stereotypical image we have of a depressed person crying alone in bed.

Many other people have shared their own personal photos in the hopes of changing the misconception that shrouds depression, misconceptions that can prevent people from getting help, and which lead to untreated mental illness and even suicide:

As you can see, depression has many faces.

I saw an article sometime last week about these posts and it really struck close to home. The photo on the left is of me today after an attack and the one on the right is from one of the best days of my life. The person in both photos has depression and anxiety. There are days when I can and there are days when I can’t. There are times when I sparkle and times when I fade. It’s important to be aware that you just never know by someone’s smile, make up or attire. I have a wonderful life and supportive people in it, but I still feel like I have rats running around in my head. It’s no one’s fault, it’s just depression. #thefaceofdepression #depressionhasnoface #depression #depressionawareness #anxietyawareness #anxiety #breakthestigma

A post shared by Michelle (@michellexseashell) on

This photo was taken just 7 hours before I tried to take my own life for the 3rd time. This photo was taken in the morning, we went for a walk and for some food with Eli. We laughed and enjoyed our time. That evening I took an overdose that left me in hospital for a week. . I had no idea I’d try to take my own life in the morning, I was smiling and loved the way my hair looked hence the selfie. Having BPD (undiagnosed for so long because the NHS wouldn’t listen) means that my mood can switch to suicidal in seconds over the slightest trigger. . Suicidal isn’t just crying, for those with a troubled life and long build ups to breaking point, it’s also snap decisions made whilst your son sleeps in the same house and your loving partner kissed you goodnight hours before. . We need to learn how suicidal tendencies can present themselves beyond our ignorance to the topic. By listening and learning even the tiniest triggers/signs we can save lives. ❤

A post shared by Milly Smith 💛🌻☀👑 (@selfloveclubb) on

What a powerful and important message.

Depression has no face. its hiding silently behind a smile, its tears pouring down for hours, its hanging out with your friends laughing like nothing hurts, its sleeping for hours on your days off because you’re energy is non existent, its looking nice and going to work everyday even when you just can’t care. I don’t talk about my battle often, but I’m not ashamed to hide it. Too many people are, too many people can’t keep fighting, and each day at a time I remind my self its worth it. The tunnel may be dark at first but that light is there, its shining and it will get brighter, one step at a time. #depression #depressionhasnoface #mentalhealth #girlstrong #keepgoing #letstalkaboutit #mentalillness #itsokaynottobeokay

A post shared by Samantha Hope (@samantha.210) on

Thank you to these brave people for speaking out and helping to end the stigma around depression.

September is Suicide prevention month and I came across #faceofdepression campaign aiming to break stereotypes about the look of depressed people. So often we disregard this #invisibleillness because people look normal from outside. Here are three photos of me cheerfully playing with my amazing son when he was around 5 month old. I look happy as a new mother should be, but in fact around this time my depression reached very deep level. Here is a small portion of letter I wrote to my sister. “Death is not scary, it’s scary to survive and face the consequences of everyday life. Struggle through physical and emotional pain and fight for every tiny piece of normal life which was flowing so easily before. And after five month of this strugle to feel only emptiness. Terrifying, overwhelming emptiness, not only around, but also ahead replacing all hopes and dreams”. And it took me a year before I started to seek help, the most difficult year in my life. 😓😓😓😓😓😓😓Read original Russian version in comments. ⬇⬇⬇⬇ #depressionhasnoface #mentalhealth #depression #депрессия #motherhood #letstalk #suicidalthoughts #help

A post shared by Alesya Evstratova (@phdnails) on

As Agnieszka Ostrowska shared on Facebook: “This is my boyfriend two weeks before hanging himself. Will never understand it… 😢”

Some Instagrammers talked about how depression has no specific look or “face.” In other words, we may not recognize it, even if we’re looking at it.

What does depression look like? Let me tell you … depression has NO face. Both of these photos are of a girl who struggles. Depression isn’t always crying on the bathroom floor. It exists behind smiles and laughter. It’s found at parties and graduations. It doesn’t care what color you are, your age, your gender. Depression doesn’t care how beautiful or successful you are. Do you ever hear people say ” but they had so much going for them. They were such a happy person. They had so many friends”. Because it’s true. Some of the kindest people are the ones with so much pain. We need to end the stigma. Depression has many faces and we need to continue to educate and support people with mental illness. Use your voice for people who can’t use theirs. Depression HAS NO FACE. #faceofdepression

A post shared by Aubrey (@aubernutter) on

Instagram user pmhenny eloquently wrote about how depression isn’t always about how bad things are in life.

“I saw a post about #faceofdepression,” she wrote. “Many people have this idea that depression only affects those who “have it bad” or those who get bullied, teased, etc. None of those circumstances apply to me, yet I was still diagnosed with depression. Yes, I am depressed. Yes, I get sad. Yes, I still get happy. Yes, I still enjoy my life. It’s just very hard sometimes.”

Recently I saw a post about #faceofdepression. Many people have this idea that depression only affects those who “have it bad” or those who get bullied, teased, etc. None of those circumstances apply to me, yet I was still diagnosed with depression. Yes, I am depressed. Yes, I get sad. Yes, I still get happy. Yes, I still enjoy my life. It’s just very hard sometimes. My emotions are literally a never ending hilly rollercoaster and I give props to everyone in my life who puts up with it. It doesn’t matter if you’re privileged, beautiful, smart, outgoing- it literally can affect ANYONE. I hate having to hear “what do you have to be depressed about?” or “you have it too good to be depressed.” Maybe I don’t know what “I have to be depressed about” but it still affects me every. single. day. Some days I lay in bed wondering what is wrong with me and why I’m like this because it just completely takes over me emotionally, physically, and mentally. I’ve had problems in the past with self-harm, I’ve struggled to handle my emotions, I’ve been suicidal and I’ve been called crazy. But I have now come to terms with the fact that I am depressed and I finally got help and am learning how to cope. I’m no longer pushing it to the side or hiding it in the bushes. I am a face of depression and I’m not afraid to say it anymore 🤷🏽‍♀️

A post shared by Peyton Hennessey (@pmhenny) on


It’s truly amazing to see how one topic can be illustrated in so many different and creative ways. Here’s another sketch shared on Instagram focusing on depression.


[h/t: Bored Panda]

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About the Author
Bridget Sharkey
Bridget Sharkey is a freelance writer covering pop culture, beauty, food, health and nature.

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