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  • Writer's pictureCharlotte Pearson

Behind the Smile – Navigating the Unspoken Battles of A Brave Face

Updated: May 8

Putting on a brave face, for me personally, is one of the biggest challenges I face.

And I know I am not alone in this. I also know that comfort comes from not feeling alone. Even as open as I am, I face a lot more than I let on. And so when I think of those who conceal it all it fills me with sadness. And that’s what inspired this post. A difficult time hidden behind a brave face and recognising just how much additional strength is required during our most vulnerable moments.

On those days when getting out of bed feels like scaling a mountain, and tears blur your world, there’s a silent strength we don’t often talk about. It’s the days of hurriedly wiping eyes to hide the evidence, gazing skyward to catch those tears, safeguarding against smeared mascara.

Moments spent washing dishes with turned backs, adopting an overly cheery tone to mask quivering voices. Silently breathing through panic attacks, fiercely fighting to maintain composure. Always on alert, suppressing cries and stopping tears at a moment’s notice, should young eyes suddenly appear. They can’t see us like this.

We’re masters at donning a brave face. We shield our loved ones from our inner turmoil, all the while yearning for support and room to feel.

Smiling and laughing amongst family and friends, we treasure connections that uplift us, yet continue to conceal the challenges we face, not wanting to make a fuss.

This extends beyond our personal lives and invades all aspects of our existence.

In the workplace, we persistently deliver our utmost, even on the most daunting days, with a mask firmly in place. We’re determined not to let anyone down. ‘Suck it up, buttercup!’ I tell myself. And so, we smile, engage in small talk, maintain our composure, and exude professionalism.

Reliability and strength define our commitment because that’s what our colleagues deserve

Among the mental health journey’s most difficult battles lies the self-imposed responsibility to stand strong and show up for others. Some days, I look around and wonder – who else cried today? Who else has wrestled with a panic attack or the grips of anxiety?

Our courage often remains unseen, a bravery left unspoken. Silently navigating storms, whilst offering a steady hand to those surrounding us.

Beneath the surface lie stories deserving empathy, understanding, and respite.

Let’s remember that these battles fought behind closed doors, while deeply personal, connect us in our shared human experience. As we confront our emotions, we can draw strength from knowing that we’re not alone.

And, on those days when the brave face feels too heavy, may we find solace in the unspoken courage that binds us together. 💪

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