Can You Be Depressed and Happy

Can You Be Depressed and Happy at the Same Time?

If you’re wondering whether you can be depressed and happy at the same time, this is the read for you.

Depression isn’t the end of the world. It’s one of the most common mental health conditions and is treatable.

Depression can look different in different people. Let’s talk about how to know if you’re depressed and whether you can be depressed and happy at the same time.

How Do You Know if You’re Depressed?

Major depressive disorder, more commonly referred to as depression, is a serious and common mood disorder listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) with specific criteria for diagnosis.

This article is not meant to tell you if you have depression. This article is designed to help you decide whether or not you need to consult a mental health professional.

Depression is more than just noticeable changes in behavior. Depression is a serious mental illness and must be treated like any other illness!

Our signifiers below only represent the most common depression symptoms. It is possible to have a form of clinical depression without displaying most of these symptoms.

1. Uncharacteristic Decline in Concentration and Focus

A struggle to focus is a common symptom linked to various forms of depression. Concentrating on something requires active engagement and interest and is hard to do when depressed.

can you be depressed and happy

Often, people who are depressed can’t motivate themselves to focus on the task at hand, even if they recognize the task is important.

This can often be labeled as laziness with little afterthought. However, that label blames a depressed person for something that is difficult to manage or control.

Depression can feel overwhelming in all aspects of one’s life. People with depression can think it’s impossible to motivate themselves to concentrate or focus.

If this describes how you feel, seeking emotional support is important. Friends and family who care about you can often keep you focused until the task is done.

2. Changes in Eating Habits

Depression’s effect on eating habits ranges from a significant increase in consumption to a severe decrease in consumption. This can be a delicate topic, as some people’s depression can stem from a negative view of their body image.

There is no set way to deal with depression and its effects, especially since it’s a personal issue for so many. If someone reacts unhealthily to their depression, it’s important to understand how difficult it is to manage.

Depression can lead to stress eating or eating food you usually enjoy to try to feel happy. This can lead to a negative spiral that makes people feel even worse about themselves.

The other end of the spectrum sees depression causing people to eat less or, in some cases, stop eating altogether. This can cause serious health risks to people in the long term and is a dangerous habit to fall into.

Woman eating sushi

If you think you’re experiencing either of these, speaking to a qualified psychologist or psychiatrist is necessary to be safe.

3. Difficulty Experiencing Joy or Excitement

Another common symptom of depression is difficulty feeling excited or happy. We need to clarify that it’s not the same as feeling sad.

Rather, this symptom leaves people with apathy and disconnecting from their emotions. While they might still enjoy activities and hobbies, the feeling won’t last long or will turn back into apathy.

This affects how people interact with others and influences how fulfilling they feel life is. If this depressive episode lasts long enough, it can lead to more serious mental health issues. In severe cases, it can lead to thoughts of self-harm.

If you experience this, we strongly recommend you seek mental health resources and speak to a psychologist or psychiatrist. Managing seemingly minor issues is vital before they manifest as larger problems.

4. Noticeable Decline in Self-Esteem

Unfortunately, one of the most apparent symptoms of major depression is a lack of self-esteem and self-confidence.

People with persistent depressive disorder often battle to keep intrusive thoughts at bay. While these thoughts usually are manageable, depression affects their ability to deal with them healthily. Those experiencing depression usually don’t notice how harmful these intrusive thoughts are.

If your self-esteem is low, you may battle to motivate yourself to improve your mental health.

Man covering face

If things get out of hand, the risk to your physical and emotional health becomes severe. This can lead to you not engaging in activities you used to, even if you know it’s important for your health.

This is one of the symptoms of depression that affects and amplifies the effects of the other symptoms. It’s difficult to want to work on and manage your other symptoms if you don’t feel like you deserve to.

Low self-esteem can be self-fulfilling. If you don’t feel like you’re worthy of self-improvement, you’ll feel worse, which will, in turn, lower your self-esteem even more.

Be careful of this! Remember – you deserve to be happy. Pursuing talk therapy with a mental health professional is a good idea to uncover why your self-esteem is low.

5. Unpredictable Sleeping Patterns

Another symptom of depression that tends to affect other symptoms is an unpredictable sleeping pattern. Like eating issues, this can manifest in two extreme ways.

Firstly, people may start sleeping for increasingly long periods of time. This can cause harm to their social life and daily schedule since they might sleep through deadlines or important events.

People experiencing symptoms like these may find they don’t want to leave their bedroom or even their bed. This apathy towards their routines often indicates that people are depressed.

Woman sitting in bed

Secondly, people may experience the opposite extreme. They may find themselves unable to sleep for any significant period of time.

This has the effect of leaving people with such low energy that they can’t effectively manage tasks. This also leads to many other physical and mental health complications if experienced for multiple days in a row.

Perhaps the worst aspect of this symptom of depression is that these two issues tend to fuel one another.

Long periods of increased sleeping patterns leave people feeling awake, which means they’re unlikely to go to sleep at a regular time. This can lead directly to being unable to sleep regularly due to the shift in their sleep schedule.

If you battle these kinds of issues, speaking with a psychiatrist can help. Sleeping medication may also be a helpful treatment.

6. Thoughts of Self-Harm

The topic of self-harm and suicide is a delicate topic that causes people a great deal of stress and anxiety.

In extreme cases, depression can cause people to feel the need to find an outlet for their feelings. While this in and of itself isn’t harmful, the solution people reach is.

Some people choose to inflict tangible harm on their minds and bodies to feel a sense of release. The impact of this on their mental health is immense, and this is perhaps the most dangerous symptom of severe depression.

A complication is that most people know that what they do is harmful to them, so they attempt to hide it from others.

Person sitting against wall

While this is not okay, it’s also not something to blame them for. If someone reaches this point in their depression, they likely aren’t thinking clearly.

While people who self-harm must receive the help they deserve, they usually won’t come forward and admit it or readily accept help.

If you suspect someone you know is self-harming, speak with them and try to understand the scope of the problem. You may need to strongly guide them to treatment facilities that can help them.

If you are self-harming or thinking about it, please reach out to a loved one. The Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is also available 24/7 at the number 9-8-8.

Can You Be Depressed and Happy at the Same Time?

With all our talk about severe and often visible mental and physical symptoms of depression, you might wonder whether depression always manifests this way.

Some forms of depression present very differently from others. This raises an interesting question: can you be depressed and happy at the same time?

Well, it’s possible. Happy emotions might feel fleeting. Being depressed doesn’t mean you never feel other emotions; it just means that positive emotions are less frequent and harder to feel.

Feeling and looking, however, are different. Depressed people might not look unhappy at all.

We need to talk about smiling depression. This is a form of depression that comes without the visible and noticeable symptoms we’ve discussed so far.

What Is Smiling Depression?

Can you be depressed and happy at the same time? Those with smiling depression might say yes.

Smiling depression is a form of high-functioning depression, which means that your depressive symptoms seemingly don’t interfere with your life.

People with high-functioning depression still experience the symptoms of depression but have found a way to hide their true feelings. In a way, they are pretending to be happy.


This form of masked depression creates the illusion that a person has their life together and is happy.

But in reality, those experiencing depression of this nature often feel their sadness would burden those around them.

They may also view their depression as a sign of weakness. This can greatly impact their sense of self-worth, even if they appear content on the surface.

It’s important to check on your happy friends. Keep in touch with them regularly and ask how they’re doing. While they may be smiling on the outside, they may need your support and understanding.

If you suspect a friend is struggling with smiling depression, offer them a listening ear and compassion, and help link them to professional treatment if warranted.

Final Thoughts

We are living through difficult times; taking care of our mental health is more important than ever. Sometimes all we need is a shoulder to cry on or a friend to lend a listening ear.

a little dose of happy aims to help you build happy, healthy habits that enable you to face adversity with resilience and strength.

Sometimes, however, we need more than that. If you, or someone you know, is displaying symptoms of major depression, be gentle. You, and those around you, deserve kindness and compassion.

Depression is a serious disorder and should be treated as such with professional help. You are not alone, and support is always available. Please remember the number 9-8-8 if you’re struggling and need to talk to someone.