Why Bipolar Disorder Requires Fake Smiles

January 25, 2018 Natasha Tracy

Fake smiles -- we all use them but in bipolar disorder, fake smiles are a major coping skill. Learn about why people with bipolar use more fake smiles.I’m sorry to say I have found bipolar disorder requires a fake smile pretty much on demand, every day. We all have fake smiles for different situations but mine need to be at the ready, at all times, because I use them more than others. Fake smiles with bipolar disorder suck, but what can I say, I need them.

Fake Smiles and Genuine Smiles

I know that we all have fake smiles. Someone asks you how your day is and you likely smile and say, “Fine.” That’s just a social norm.

But I suspect that your average, non-mentally ill person brings out his or her fake smile considerably less than I do. For example, during the day, many things will elicit a genuine smile from people. This is normal and this is so often not the case with me.

Fake Smiles with Bipolar Disorder

I know that during the day, I’m unlikely to truly feel happy. This is because I experience anhedonia – an inability to experience pleasure. And those with other symptoms of depression may feel similarly. Depression feels like the weight of the world is constantly on your shoulders. It feels like a film exists between you and the world and stimuli from the world is just blasé and doesn’t seem real to you – it doesn’t reach you in any real way.

And so I need my fake smile. When there are things that “should” make me smile, I need to follow through with an actual smile. People really don’t like it if you never smile. It just doesn’t work on a social level.

Video About Bipolar Disorder and Fake Smiles

Learn more about what I call a “manufactured” smile and what it means for a person with bipolar disorder and those around him or her.

I think people need to know that if bipolar disorder induces fake smiles, it’s not something to be judged. You shouldn’t feel bad about the fake smiles that are needed for socializing. Those around you should not judge you either.

People sometimes know when I’m fake-smiling due to bipolar disorder and I’ve been known to feel bad about it. But I try not to. And I should say that smiling, even when you don’t want to, is the better option for you mental health anyway.

I know what I need to do to make social interactions work, and part of that is fake smiles. I’m sorry, but it is.

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2018, January 25). Why Bipolar Disorder Requires Fake Smiles, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 19 from

Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate, and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar. She's also the host of the podcast Snap Out of It! The Mental Illness in the Workplace Podcast.

Natasha is also unveiling a new book, Bipolar Rules! Hacks to Live Successfully with Bipolar Disorder, mid-2024.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar BurbleX, InstagramFacebook, and YouTube.

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