I smile a lot. Sometimes I’m quite outgoing and can talk a lot and loudly. Sometimes I feel like I have to talk to everyone and include them. I reach out often. I do my best to invite others to events. People can view me as an extrovert. Sometimes when I tell people I struggle with anxiety and depression, people do not believe me. I do my best not to let others see my anxiety and depression. I’m great at putting on a brave face. Most people will never know I struggled unless I told them directly or they read something I wrote. This is why I would never take offense if a person seems to be in disbelief once they found out.
I wrote something the other day about depression, and someone asked me “You relate to this?” and I responded, “Yes, definitely.” What I really wanted to say was “You should just talk to my boyfriend, parents, or good friends then you would know.” I have this weird idea where I can talk to people about my anxiety and depression all they want. I shall describe moments when I had to hide in my car to cry. I will tell you about how I have to check my apartment for “fire hazards” ten times before I leave my apartment for the weekend. I just don’t want them to see it. I don’t like who I am when anxiety and depression take over. I don’t want people to see it and then view me like that whenever they see me.
Let me give you all an example. Friday was a long day at work. It was busy and challenging. I was meeting up with my boyfriend later at night to eat dinner. I got home and was good. Took a shower. Did some dancing therapy. Then I crashed. I laid in my bed doing nothing for forty-five minutes. I had so much to do but had none of the energy to actually do it. I received a text from my boyfriend, and I had to start heading out. He asked if I wanted to go to one of his friend’s houses and I went along with it because I didn’t have the energy to care. We grabbed dinner with another couple before going to the friend’s house. You know what, I had fun. I put on a brave face and let that other shit go. No one would have guessed that an hour before that I was laying on my bed unable to move. Later that night I had a discussion with others about anxiety and depression. Again, some of them wouldn’t have guessed. But I also think that’s typical.
No one likes discussing their mental health, let alone letting others see it. Seeing all the hard parts. All the times when they felt like they couldn’t go on. The times when they felt pathetic or stupid for not being able to do something. The moments when it all fell apart, and they hurt someone they cared about. No one wants to let others in on their panic attacks and not being able to breathe. We want to talk about the good stuff- which is incredibly important as well. I just wish I heard people talk more about the hard stuff. I don’t want people always to be surprised when someone starts talking about it. If you need to talk to someone about the bad days, the days when you want to give up, the days you feel like nothing, know that you can reach out. You don’t have to face it alone. If you don’t want to reach out to me, then don’t, but know there are others out there that you can reach out to. You aren’t the only one feeling the way you are feeling. Other people get it. I share because I want people to realize that they aren’t the only ones who are struggling. I want people to get that just because things seem good for someone on the outside; there’s probably a lot more happening on the inside. Let’s be open to everything people are: the good, the bad, and everything in-between.