Dealing with Depression/Facial expressions

Advertisement


Question
Hi Johnny,
I am concerned by some feedback I've received from family, friends and coworkers about my facial expression. My good friend says my face is "stuck in disapproval." She also told me I was stonefaced. My sister and a coworker used exactly the same word to describe me. None of them have ever met. Today one of my coworkers asked me why I never look happy. More people than I can count have told me they were intimidated by me when we first met. On two occassions two of my coworkers told me I was severe-looking.

I don't understand why this is happening. I cannot remember a single time when I have wanted to intimidate someone. I am disturbed that this is the impression people have because it's totally inaccurate and has far-reaching effects on my personal and professional life. Unfortunately, I have come to learn that many people will make conclusions based on my expression alone without ever talking to me. These comments have made me more aware of my facial expressions. I realized I don't change my expression much and that's led me to feel like my face is broken or that something is seriously wrong with me.

I have not been very happy since I was 19 (I'm 28 now) and I guess that's why I don't smile much. I feel like the depression is starting to seep out of me through my facial expressions because I don't show it in ither ways. After trying many things to shake this blues I finally said to myself, "Ok. It's not going to go away. You're going to have to live your best life inspite of it." I recognize the presence of depression in me, but I don't give it headspace, I simply choose to act on the emotions I prefer instead.

Honestly, my life sucks right now and it has for some time. I am taking steps to change that (applying to graduate school, culinary school, starting a flower-farming business on the side, looking into buying my first home and car and getting a better job). I live with my parents, work in a grocery store and have a 3 hour bus commute each day. This alone is not awful, it's the mounding frustration of lost opportunities. I have big dreams and I see how I could be spending my time differently. I have hesitated to quit because I have not found a new job. If I quit I would be stuck at home with my parents, which would be a poor choice because they're incredibly negative and discouraging. I cannot afford to move out on my current income.

Anyway, can you give me some guidance? I am not exactly sure what I'm looking for, yet it seems clear it's time I did something.

Hope everything is going well in your world and I look forward to your response.

Answer
Stop thinking of your face as the display of your emotions/feelings, and start thinking of it like your image.
Think of smiling, and smile, no matter when, what, how you feel, it's just like you won't go out of the house naked, well, that smile is the cloth for your face.
You will be surprised as to how much your whole life will change, slowly at first, but you will notice a difference as long as you keep smiling.
This is the same thing as a well dressed, cleanly dressed man will always have more luck, more friends, more...everything than someone less so- make an effort to wear that smile, make it work for you and it will bring you new things.

Dealing with Depression

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Johnny St. Tai

Expertise

It is okay to feel down and out once every so often, as long as you know to reach out for the hands that will pull you back up. I can answer questions about self esteem improvement, relationship with others, depression, and sexuality. I will/cannot give medical advice without an actual examination of the person and his/her medical history, so for those issues, best to find a local specialist/doctor to be safe.

Experience

Ten years of professional and volunteer counseling, and volunteering for the Crisis Center. Born of a conflict-laiden family, I've walked through violance, addiction, abuse, and more. I survived, scarred but still strong, and I will do my best to help others do the same.

Organizations
Richmond Chimo Crisis Center

Education/Credentials
Interpersonal/Social Relation Specialist, University of British Colombia Socialwork, 2005.

Past/Present Clients
over 500.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.