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When You Hide Your Depression Behind a Fake Smile and Sarcasm

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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 741741.

It’s such a disturbing feeling, constantly waking up wanting to die or wishing you were dead. I mean, how can you be that depressed when you just woke up? How… why? Nothing even happened yet. You haven’t even had the chance to think about something bad happening. You literally just woke up, opened your eyes and said, “fuck, I’m still alive!” Then, you lay there until you can muster up the energy to get out of bed and face yet another day. Sometimes it takes a few minutes; sometimes it takes an hour or more. But, eventually, you do it. You get out of bed. Sometimes you brush your teeth right away, because you know if you don’t, you won’t. Sometimes you go straight to the couch. Sometimes you turn on the TV or music for background noise. Sometimes you just sit there in silence, listening to the screaming and crying and belittling of your inner voice. 

Sometimes, you actually manage to shower. And sometimes that’s the most productive thing you do all day. Sometimes that inner voice comes out to remind you how lazy and pathetic you are. Sometimes, deep down inside, you know you’re doing your best… and oftentimes, that actually makes you feel even worse because you should be doing more. You should be doing better. Sometimes you have a million reasons in the world to break down and cry, but you don’t. Then there are those times when you have absolutely no reason to break down and cry, but you do. Those times are the worst. Those are the times that make you feel completely defeated. How can you keep it together so easily when you’re falling apart but fall apart when you have it all together? 

Sometimes you want to reach out and ask for help because you can feel yourself breaking. But most of the time you convince yourself not to be a burden on others. Sometimes you want to let yourself try and imagine being happy but then you realize you really don’t even know how to do that. Sometimes when you’re with your friends and family, laughing, you realize you’re only doing so because they are. You’re just blending in, going with the flow so as not to arise suspicion. But really, you’re hiding the fact that you’re falling apart inside.

You’ve mastered the art of the fake smile and sarcasm, not wanting people to fuss over you or ask too many questions. Or even worse, you don’t want to see the look of pity in their eyes if you tell them what’s really going on. And you really don’t want to hear them try to make you feel better by saying things that will make you feel worse. Things like, “Don’t worry, it’ll get better. It always does,” or “You should pray on it, give it to God. God doesn’t give you more than you can handle,” or “why don’t you try and focus on positive things? Choose happiness,” because they don’t realize that if it was that easy, nobody would be depressed and you don’t have the energy to explain it to them, they are just trying to help after all.

“I’m OK” is easier than, “I’m falling apart and I don’t know how much longer I can keep myself together because I constantly think about dying or killing myself and sometimes I don’t even know why but I don’t want to burden you with my stuff because I know you’ve got your own stuff but please help me!” So, “I’m OK” is all you manage to say. Because you’re the strong one so you can’t be weak. You’re the one who helps and listens to others so you can’t ask them to help you or listen to you. So you just suck it up and put on that fake smile you’ve perfected so well and no one knows you’re dying inside.

Photo by Joshua Rondeau on Unsplash

Originally published: January 15, 2021
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