Life
30 Faces Of Depression
These photos show that depression really has no face.
Ashley Brewer
09.30.17

September was National Suicide Prevention Month — and although the month is over, it’s important to keep spreading awareness about mental health issues. In the past few weeks, Instagram saw a surge in the use of a new hashtag, #faceofdepression. People are posting powerful, personal stories about the loved ones they’ve lost to suicide and their own struggles with depression.

What does a depressed person look like? Does someone who has suicidal thoughts appear a certain way? #faceofdepression is trying to show that people with mental health issues hide it to carry on as best as they can.

Someone who is depressed or thinking of suicide isn’t necessarily curled up in bed, crying. They are a person. A person that would look like anyone you’d see at the grocery store or driving down the freeway. They are someone’s daughter, cousin, or uncle.

Suicide has been at the forefront of the news lately as many celebrities have taken their own lives — leaving people wondering how they could do such a thing, they seemed so ‘happy’ and ‘successful.’ They were smiling or performing just days or hours before.

It’s important to ask the tough questions if you suspect that someone might be struggling. The photos below explain that the #faceofdepression looks like anyone you’d pass by, anytime, anywhere.

If you, or someone you know, needs help, The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 — just call 1-800-273-8255 or visit their website to speak with a counselor.

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“You can’t tell can you? You can’t tell by the look in my eyes or the sound of my voice even. You’re thinking “You’re smiling though!” Yes. Yes, I am smiling. I smiled for you. I smiled so I don’t make you feel bad. I don’t want you to feel like I do. I also don’t want you to feel like there is something you can do to make me “feel better”. There isn’t anything anyone can do. I have to work through it on my own. The worst part is that this bout snuck up on me. I recognize the familiarity of it all though. Empty Lonely Heavy Tired So tired Everything is loud Everything is annoying I have no patience I want to be left alone I want to stay in bed I don’t want to work out I want to eat everything without cooking anything The best part is that I haven’t felt like this in a very long time AND that I recognize it for what is. I’m the one who bakes and does crafts. You see that on the outside but you don’t see the darkness inside. For those that are also suffering….PLEASE SEEK HELP. Treatment is different for each person. Do what is best for you. I’m doing what works for me while I get back to Monique. So for now – I smile, and let people know I’m struggling.”

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“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.”

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Facebook

“This is my son, right before going to his computer to look up how to properly hang himself. Two days later he followed through. #suicideawareness Gavin 2000-2017”

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Facebook

“This is my boyfriend two weeks before hanging himself. Will never understand it…”

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Facebook

“My #faceofdepression and yes it is possible to be depressed with a child. Hearing, “You don’t have a reason to be depressed with her around” doesn’t do shit but make me feel worse about myself. Being told, “All you need is exercise and a good diet” just makes me want to throat punch you even though you’re coming from a good place. Depression keeps you from doing things you want to do because it’s literally a chemical imbalance in your brain.”

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“This is what depression looked like not long before we lost our beloved Luke. Depression is a SERIOUS illness. Don’t dismiss people who are hurting.”

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Instagram

“You guys! This is the face of depression and suicidal thoughts. 3 years ago antidepressants saved my life and then a year and a half ago they almost claimed it because I just decided I was happy and quit taking them suddenly. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Normalize mental health issues. No more shame in my struggle. #suicideprevention #itsoktonotbeok#faceofdepression National Suicide Prevention 1-800 273 8255 It’s OK not to be OK.”

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Facebook
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“Currently at the doctor seeking help, most have no idea what I’m going through and that I cry in the shower or in the car on my way home from work or can’t sleep at night because of panic attacks.”

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Instagram
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“Break down after break down. Depression isn’t pretty. It isn’t just feeling sad it’s a hopelessness, loss of motivation, fits of anger and sadness, feeling like there’s no point to anything, it’s pushing the people u care about away when all you want is to hold them close, it’s not understanding why you’re sad and angry constantly . it’s not pretty it’s not easy and it’s not something that you jus feel for a day. It ruins relationships causes fights and tension and hurts not just you but those around you.”

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Instagram
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“Depression looks different on everyone. On me, it’s dirty hair, bags under my eyes even though I slept all day, and makeup from yesterday because I was too exhausted to take it off before bed. Yesterday was great until one phrase set me off. It can’t be helped sometimes. Just remember. There is no one look for depression. #depression#faceofdepression #mentalhealth#youareallowedtobreak”

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“The face of depression. Sometimes it looks optimistic. Sometimes it doesn’t. And having a smart, beautiful child doesn’t mean those feelings don’t exist or that they’re not valid. She loves me on my good days and my bad days.”

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“I suffer from fibromyalgia, arthritis, and anxiety. The years have been a struggle.”

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“Sometimes you get all dressed up and head out to celebrate a friend’s birthday and barely make it through dinner without having a panic attack and a cry in the toilets. Then sometimes you have to run home and just make it in your front door before you collapse on the floor and sob. Sometimes depression really fucking sucks and makes life really fucking hard. If anyone needs me, don’t, I’ll be crying into some red wine in bed and hoping the world is less dark tomorrow.”

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Instagram
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“This is one face of #mentalillness. I don’t always look like this and I certainly don’t let others see me this way. Why? Because I’ve been convinced that I need to present myself as being somewhat ‘together’ when I can. Because this isn’t what people want to see on social media. Why did I feel the need to take this photo? Because I had reached rock bottom, again. Because I’d had insomnia for 3 weeks, missed human contact, felt incredibly alone and finally needed to wake my fiancé at 4am to cry for well over an hour. Nope that’s not a red nose from a cold, that from fighting through the pain that #depressioncauses me on a daily basis only to realise that how will people know how badly I’m feeling if I hide it?”

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Facebook

“When people think about depression, they tend to have a very specific idea of how it manifests itself. I’m in the middle of a very real depressive episode and here I am at work with my plants and headphones.”

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“Me, Two Days After A Failed Suicide Attempt. People Don’t “Look” Depressed, Because Depression Isn’t A Facial Expression.”

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“GAD and depression for probably two decades. My childhood nickname was “smiley”. My positive attitude gets remarked on often. My brain still fires weird regardless.”

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“Two months after attempting suicide – while I was considering trying again daily. Everyone who meets me and who I tell I have depression say: ‘You don’t seem the type!’ There is no type.”

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“Bipolar disorder here,(with a heavy emphasis on the depression side)…I get up, put on a full face of makeup, wear a fun dress, all while struggling with depression, anxiety, and sometimes suicidal thoughts.”

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“When you put on your war face but inside is where the battle happens.”

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“Taken a few days ago… Face of depression, anxiety, ednos, bpd and suicidal thoughts. I’m ashamed.”

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“The guy in red was my dad, less than 2 months before he took his life. He was 60 years old. He told us as kids that he had to talk himself out of suicide every day. He succeeded, but not without letting every one of his loved ones know how much he loved us. I miss him terribly, he will never get to meet my kids or walk me down the aisle.”

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“‘Depression? But you’re young and smart’ they say. And here I am with 11 suicide attempts.”

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“Depressed for years, nobody noticed till last year, it’s amazing how depression can hide.”

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“My beautiful handsome baby boy Haiden suffered with anxiety and decided to leave my world :-( this was his smiling face always even the night before. Age 19 forever in my heart, fly high with the angels my beautiful handsome son Haiden Meare 18.10.1997 – 06.07.2017 XxxxxX Love Mum”

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“‘You’re too pretty to be thinking about suicide. What about everyone who loves you? Don’t let the devil blah blah blah’ Bipolar, weighing heavily on the depression side, along with anxiety. Cocktail.”

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“This is the face of depression – Chinese, CA resident, early 30’s, has a large happy dog, holds a master degree and works as a dept head for a billion dollar tech company. This is the face of depression- smiling ear to ear in Bali on a meditation retreat. I went to Bali to die, simple as that. It’s a beautiful place and i just wanted to quietly slip away. I didn’t want to say goodbye, I didn’t want my friends and family to find my body, I didn’t want to make any noise… I simply just wanted to disappear. The face of depression is never going to be what you think it looks like.”

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Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

“A day on the beach with my beautiful family. All the time hiding deep suicidal thoughts. Men are not allowed to be depressed. Two overdoses, hours of researching ways to die, even planning a trip to Dignitas to take the pressure off my family.”

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By Ashley Brewer
hi@sbly.com
Ashley Brewer is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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