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What is Smiling Depression aka The Robin Williams

Smiling depression is concealed depression where a person suffering from depression hides it.  In my opinion, it is probably the scariest type of depression cause you think your loved one is ok, then one day they pull a Robin Williams. I came up with the term The Robin Williams cause when he unexpectedly died, there was an outpour of people that were shocked cause he didn’t show any of the clinical symptoms.

People that suffer from smiling depression can go about life and appear to be fine.  They’re not late to work, on the outside they appear to be put together, and they tend not to share their true feelings.

I’ve done this.  If people only knew that when I get all dressed up with hair and make-up and heels that it is a sign of my depression. Sometimes I do this when I go to my psychiatrist. It’s not like I am trying to fool her, it’s just sometimes I don’t want more medication. Sometimes I don’t want my depression documented. Sometimes it’s easier to not deal and just pretend.

Another thing I may do is make it a point to show up to work on time, leave on time, don’t complain and more or less keep a low profile. I don’t want anyone knowing the truth so I do the exact opposite of how I truly feel. It’s not like I make up stories about my “fabulous” weekend (when in fact I spent it isolating) I just don’t divulge details of my life. I’m vague. A conversation may go like this:

“How was your weekend?”


“You do anything fun?”

“Yeah, I did some stuff. It was chill.”

I basically keep it short and sweet when inside it is not so chill.  Inside it is chaotic, or sad, or confusing.  Inside is the exact opposite of what you see on the outside.

Having said that, those are the ones to watch.   Today I am having a bad hair day, and don’t have that much make-up on so, I guess I’m not a smiling depressed person.


What is Smiling Depression aka The Robin Williams

Erica Loberg

Erica Loberg was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. She attended Columbia University in New York and graduated with a BA in English. She is a published poet and author of Inside the Insane, Screaming at the Void, What Men Should Know About Women, What Women Should Know About Men, Diamonds From The Rough , Undressed, and I'm Not Playing.

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APA Reference
Loberg, E. (2018). What is Smiling Depression aka The Robin Williams. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 31, 2020, from


Last updated: 25 Jan 2018
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