I'm Sorry for the Lies I Tell You When I'm Depressed
Living with mental illness has made me a great liar. I am able to lie, with a straight face, to anyone from those closest to me to a random stranger.
I can’t speak for anyone else, but I doubt I am the only person who feels this way. Because mental illness is so misunderstood, I do not always tell the truth — even if I am talking to someone I know cares about me and has good intentions.
For every person who tells me they understand, that everything is OK and I shouldn’t worry, there are so many more who say things like “depression isn’t a real illness” or “you shouldn’t let your depression/anxiety impact you” or “it’s all in your mind—you are just overreacting.” Hearing statements like these, at the very least cause me to see you differently. And at the worst, they cause me to have an episode.
So, I hide myself and my battles. My common response if someone asks if I am OK is, “yeah, I’m just tired.” Usually, I am truly exhausted. But there is also so much more going on inside of me I wish I could share with you. Maybe at that moment all I want to do is crawl into a dark space and cry. Or maybe my heart feels like it is about to explode because I am so anxious. Maybe at that moment I feel so utterly worthless that I think I should, for the betterment of people I care about, kill myself. Or maybe I am so angry and sick of these battles inside of my own head that I want to punch a wall so hard I shatter the bones in my hand.
But instead, I lie and say: “I’m fine. Just tired.”
If you do not have a mental illness and are reading this, please educate yourself. Read other stories on this site. If you know someone who is struggling, talk to them and ask them questions. They will appreciate it. There is only one person I am completely open with about my struggles and what got us there is talking. She asked questions. She was open-minded. She apologized for comments she made that were close-minded. She continually tries to learn more. She is understanding.
If you do not know anyone who is struggling, still educate yourself. I guarantee you know someone who has a mental illness who hasn’t yet opened up to you.
If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.
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Thinkstock photo via b-d-s.