Why 'Reaching Out' Doesn't Always Feel Like an Option When I'm Struggling With Depression
Often the most painful part of depression is the effort I have to make to hide it. If you have never experienced depression, you may not understand the need I feel to hide it. You may never comprehend the shame and embarrassment I feel. All the while my family and friends say things like, “Maybe if you reached out, things could get better.”
For me, it often feels like doing so won’t help. I feel like all it will do is add pressure to every move I make. I feel like I would have to question every action I take to make sure you don’t think my problems are bigger than they actually are.
I don’t want you to worry about me, and I definitely don’t want to see the look of pure terror on your face every time I have a bad day.
A common misconception is people with depression or anxiety don’t reach out because they don’t trust you. In my case, that could not be further from the truth. I do love and trust you.
I want you to think of me as a strong friend who can be a rock for others. I want to be someone you can lean on. If I told you everything, I fear you would think I’m “damaged goods.” Then what? My loved ones might start treating me like a patient in a hospital, observing my every move. I feel like I would lose any sense of “normalcy” I have managed to maintain.
It may sound “crazy,” but telling you would really be like fully admitting it to myself. I have depression and it scares me. What scares me more than this is the thought of you leaving because of it.
I know you don’t always think I can do it on my own, but I want you to let me learn how. When I was learning how to ride a bike, you didn’t ride it for me, did you? I believe the only way I can learn to live with my depression is if you let me.
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 JZhuk.