The Me I Let You See, and the 'Real' Me
This is the me most people see.
This is the me who smiles, the me who laughs with my friends and family. The me who goes out, the me who takes pictures of scenery and managed to smile for the camera. This is part of me, the part of me who doesn’t show my anxiety and depression. This is the me I show people, the me people think I am.
This is the other me. This is the real me.
The me who cries for no reason. The me who struggles to get out of bed in a morning. The me who, just before I took this picture, had been on my bed crying solidly for an hour. This is the me I hide from people. This is my reality.
I get days where I can push my anxiety and depression away a little. They never go away. They’re always there, I’m always aware of them, but some days are easier than others. Yesterday, was one of the worse days. Actually, this whole week has been.
It isn’t often I show the real me. I have told people in the past that I have depression and anxiety, but I never really show it. I don’t show people I am on the verge of crying all the time, but I’m really good at hiding it. I’ve managed to develop techniques to hold it in until I’m alone where I can finally break down. I don’t show people that when I may look calm, there’s a storm raging in my body; my head is a whirlwind of panic and thoughts, my heart is beating so fast that I’m almost certain everyone can hear it, my hands are unsteady so I clench my fists or fiddle with a hairband. I get really hot and uncomfortable, and I usually end up feeling pretty nauseous.
They don’t see that in the morning, I struggle to get out of bed, I can’t think of a reason to get up. I just think “What’s the point?” They don’t see that, although I absolutely love my history degree, I just don’t have the motivation to do anything. They don’t know that when the bus I was on nearly crashed once, I was disappointed it didn’t; I’m not suicidal. I don’t want to die. I just don’t want to feel this anymore.
I am allowed to go out and have a good time with depression. I don’t have to hide away in my room 24/7 – although I do spend most if my time doing this. I do have a laugh with my friends. I laughed so hard with my friends at university today that I was sure I’d come home with a six pack. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have depression. I still felt detached, although I was having a nice time. I still kind of felt like I was watching from afar. I still noticed I was only half joining in with the conversations. For the rest of it, I was in a bubble, zoning in and out and realizing I’d missed half the conversations. The real me feels a lot weaker than I look to everyone.
Explaining depression to somebody who does understand can be hard enough. Explaining what having depression is like to somebody who doesn’t can seem impossible. They don’t always understand – and to me, that’s a good thing. Frustrating, but good. It’s good because it means they aren’t going through it, and I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. But sometimes, I wish people understood me. I wish they didn’t say, “Oh, you’ll feel better tomorrow.” Maybe I will feel better tomorrow, but maybe I won’t.
“You don’t need antidepressants.” I do need antidepressants, just like somebody might take Levothyroxine to help their thyroid, I take antidepressants to help my brain.
“You’ll be fine.” I know I will probably be fine, but at the time, I don’t feel this. And it’s OK for me to feel this. This is my normal I guess.
“You were OK yesterday.” Maybe so, but that doesn’t mean I woke up feeling fine this morning. Each morning is a new day, and each morning I can wake up feeling differently.
“Just think happy thoughts.” When you have depression, it’s hard to think happy thoughts. No matter where you are, what you’re doing, who you’re with, it’s hard. You can’t find anything that makes you happy.
I want people to understand that the exterior you see of a person isn’t everything. From the outside, I may just look like your average person. But actually, I’m constantly fighting a daily battle with myself. Sometimes I win this battle, and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I manage to get out of bed and have a productive day. Sometimes I don’t. Even if I do make it out of bed and into uni, I can still come home and cry my eyes out or come home and lock myself away just laying on my bed feeling empty. Sometimes I can laugh with my friends and go to bed with a smile while listening to some music.
Every day is different. The real me is strong because I manage to fight a battle every day, and people don’t even realize it.
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