themighty logo

The Mask I Wear to Hide My Depression


Editor’s note: If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

Every day, it’s the same routine. I wake up, shower, eat and put on my mask.

The mask is the face I put on for the world. The mask says I am happy, that all is right with the world. If only I could remove the mask and show my true feelings.

The reality is, I am not happy and I am not all right with the world.

I have depression. While I have lived with the official diagnosis of dysthymia since my late 20s, I have lived with depression for much longer.

My depression paints a negative view of the world. It says no one likes me, that I am a useless human being. It tells me the people who love me are lying, that I should be fired from my job for incompetence, that my writing is shit and my life is worthless. Whatever dreams I have are just that; they will never become reality. It’s easier is stay inside of myself and let the darkness keep me in a corner. Or better yet, end my life by suicide — this is what my depression says.

The mask I wear hides this.

Every day, I put on the porcelain mask. It is always smiling. I tie the thick red ribbon tight around my head. The ribbon is pulled tight, forcing my head to throb.

The mask seeps into my skin until my face and the mask are one.

The mask stays on for the rest of the day, undetected.

At the end of the day, I finally remove the mask and untie the red ribbon.

I can see the unshed tears dotting my eyelashes, the marks the mask and the ribbon have made around my face. I can see the anger building up in my eyes.

I put down the mask for the evening, knowing that tomorrow morning, it will be put on again. No one will notice the mask — only the smile the mask forces me to wear.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via Jacob Ammentorp Lund.