A friend recently told me she couldn’t believe I battled depression because I seem so happy.
I may have laughed.
I seem happy. Because at that moment I was happy.
I think that may be the hardest concept regarding depression. I am not always sad. As a matter of fact, I would guess I am happy 99 percent of the time. I am blessed. Family. Career. Friends.
And I am depressed.
I’ve written before about what is behind my smile. Depression. Anxiety. Grief. Fear. Crushing emotions.
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A head that tells me I matter. That my story isn’t over. That I would be missed.
But a heart says otherwise. It tells me I am a failure. I am alone. I don’t belong.
Living with depression is a daily struggle. Even when you feel happy, it is right below the surface ready to rear its ugly head.
And when it rears its head, it is an all-encompassing reality. I struggle to breathe. I struggle to move. I want to disappear and never reappear.
And honestly, I rarely reach out.
Why? Because every time I reach out, I feel as if my hand is slapped.
Friends and/or family members, through no fault of their own, cannot or will not show empathy for what I am facing.
Maybe they are simply too busy to be there. Or maybe they really don’t understand.
So I hear, “Can we talk later?” Or “I’m sure it will be fine.” Or “I really don’t understand.”
The more astute may ask “Have you called your counselor?” You need to talk to a professional because I cannot be in the middle of whatever is going on.
After all, they have their own problems to deal with.
So I feel worse.
Ashamed for daring to ask anyone to be there for me. To care for me. To be in my corner.
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After all, this is my problem, and I need to just get over it.
And the comment that hurts the most, “What do you mean you are struggling? You seem so happy.”
So I smile and move on.
Hoping this passes quickly, so I can once again be happy.