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Please See Me, and Not Just My Depression

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Editor’s Note: If you’ve experienced domestic violence, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact The National Domestic Violence Hotline online by clicking “chat now” or calling 1-800-799-7233.

We ran into each other in a crowded place. It had been awhile since we last spoke, and I was genuinely happy to see you. I started to strike up a conversation, but you cut me off saying you were in a hurry to meet friends. I said I understood; we could catch up later.

I caught a glimpse of you again later in the morning. You were still alone.

I want to give you the benefit of the doubt. Maybe you just weren’t feeling social that day. I certainly know what that’s like. Maybe you had met up with your friends but had already parted ways by the time I saw you in the crowd again. I want to believe either of those scenarios is true.

In my bones, though, I feel like it was me you were avoiding. I’ve recently been open on social media about my long time struggle with depression, and it make seems like that made you uncomfortable.

I guess I have been dishonest. I’ve been living a double life. While I was sipping on a glass of wine and chatting with you and everyone at girls’ night, you didn’t know I was silently thinking I wasn’t intelligent enough or funny enough or happy enough to enjoy your company. When you would run into me at the Saturday morning farmers’ market, you didn’t know about the agonizing process of forcing myself out of bed to go forth and behave like a normal human being for a while. When you would see the happy photos on Facebook of me grinning with my husband and children, you didn’t know I was trying to push myself to keep living, to survive because they need me.

Perhaps you see me as weak now that I’ve come clean about the other part of myself, and that’s what makes you so uncomfortable.

I wish you would understand I’m at my strongest right now. Seeking treatment and sharing my story with others has deepened my relationship with so many people. More importantly, I’m still the me you knew before. I’m still the woman who laughs with friends and enjoys farmers’ markets and loves her family. The only difference is now I feel so much lighter; doing the things I enjoy and being with the people I love feels so effortless now that I don’t have that black secret that is depression consuming me from within.

Your rejection would have devastated me a few short months ago. Now it only stings a little. I can forgive you though. I hope that the next time we see each other, you’ll see me and not my depression. I hope that when I start to talk about the weather in an awkward attempt to begin a conversation, it’ll lead to a more meaningful connection.

I’ll keep hoping.

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 “HOME” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.

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Thinkstock photo via Stockbyte

Originally published: October 21, 2017
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