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Always Frowning (weak "smile" muscles?)

Discussion in 'Rants, Musings and Ideas' started by Arthur523, Apr 9, 2011.

  1. Arthur523

    Arthur523 Well-Known Member

    I've been depressed for many years now, and I've had one suicide attempt. I've been very self-conscious about how every-day people view me. I am literally always frowning and looking unhappy, and I have trouble even looking at people in their eyes. During conversations with people, my eyes tend to wander all over the place to avoid eye contact, and I also keep my mouth half open when the other person is talking to me in order to hide my frown and I am constantly scratching my face to block my frown. My friends don't have that many pictures of me that I can look at, and I don't own a camera, so I've been unaware of this issue up until I went to the RMV about 16 months ago to get a new picture taken for my 21+ (sideways) license.

    The woman who served me got me in position in front of the camera and then she said to "smile." Well, I put on (what I had thought) was a big smile using all my "smile" muscles in my face. The teary-eyed RMV worker then showed me what my picture looked like on the computer screen, and right when I saw myself (of what I thought was a big smile) my heart just completely SANK when I saw how miserable and sad I looked. What I thought would be a picture of me standing there with a smile on my face, was in reality a picture of my that looked miserable and depressed. In an attempt to play it off as smooth as I could (and to hold myself back from crying in front of everyone), I jokingly said "Haha, if it's not a problem could I get a retake?" She nodded her head in silence, and for the 2nd picture I literally conjured up as many facial "smile" muscles as I possibly could, and I still ended up with a picture of me looking very bland and expressionless. I obviously chose this one for my license picture over the first picture that looked like I was extremely depressed.

    I already knew I was depressed going into the RMV, but actually seeing with my own eyes how sad I looked in that photograph when I was trying so hard to look happy really didn't sit well with me. Since that RMV visit, I've increasingly become more and more isolated and avoidant of other people, and I tend to block my mouth during social situations... even when I'm sitting in my darkly tinted car at a red light. I think if I could get rid of my frown, then I would be muuuuuch more comfortable being around and meeting other people. Could even look at them eye to eye.

    So with all that said, it brings me to my QUESTION. Are there any facial exercises that target specifically at increasing the face's "smile" muscles? Or are there some sort of facial exercises that decreases the appearance of frowning?
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 9, 2011
  2. icequeen

    icequeen Well-Known Member

    hi, i found your post interesting for lots of reasons. a lot of us can put on a smile while inside we are dying, but the smile never reaches the eyes and i think this is what maybe you see in your pics. if you are not truly happy your eyes will give you away and there is no exercise that will get round that as far as i know. i can "laugh" physically because i know or feel i should but mentally i am dead, the laugh is fake, and that is how your smile is. clearly your depression is affecting you, are you on meds, if so maybe your dose needs adjusting, if not maybe you should talk to you doc. it must have been a shock to see that your mask was not as good as you thought but dont worry about it...you cant make your face feel what your heart doesnt. discuss with your doc how u feel, or even on here...your depression etc...someone will relate to you, in the meantime practice this :yay:
  3. Arthur523

    Arthur523 Well-Known Member

    Not connecting my smile with my eyes and mental state makes a lot of sense to me. Hopefully I can bridge all the gaps that I need to form so that I can then start focusing on my other issues like anxiety and relaxation coping skills.
  4. icequeen

    icequeen Well-Known Member

    never suffer alone...there is always something on this forum that can give you another perspective that we all miss...the cant see the wood for the trees syndrome...depression and crap does that to you... i hope you feel a little better knowing that what you saw in the pics is not unusual. good luck and keep posting..the peeps here are cool
  5. Arthur523

    Arthur523 Well-Known Member

    Thanks icequeen, I appreciate your kindness. :)

    But back to my main question: are there like facial exercises that I can do everyday to increase my "smile" muscles?

    I was thinking that if my smile muscles were stronger, then I'd be more likely to smile. Whether I'm faking it or not, I'd at least look happy and I wouldn't as likely to unintentionally make someone feel awkward/insecure that I'm not looking at them in a kind manner.
  6. solutions

    solutions Well-Known Member

    This is something I haven't heard before. Even if one is major depressed, it shouldn't make them physically incapable of smiling.

    You know, that's something I think you should do a little extra research over. I don't think exercises are going to do it. It's possible you're suffering from a condition, maybe one caused by a medication, that's affecting your facial muscles. Something might be keeping them from functioning correctly, kind of like with tardive dyskinesia.

    I recommend asking your doctor. Your symptoms are serious, and if it's an underlying condition, maybe a neurological condition, it could be helped.
  7. icequeen

    icequeen Well-Known Member

    i dont think you can do exercises to smile, its an automatic
    thing and we can all lift our mouth into smile position, but unless you actually feel like smiling it will always look forced and false.

    Rocket is right, if its that you cant literally smile then you need to see your doc but if you can move your mouth into a smile position :smile: i would think its more to do with the fact that you are not feeling like smiling but just putting your mouth in smile position and it will show.

    maybe trying watching some comedy stuff or something and see if that makes you smile..you will see the difference between wanting to smile and pretending to smile. cant think how else to explain it...

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 11, 2011