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Why I Hide the Girl Struggling With Depression

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I don’t want to be defined by my mental illness yet time and again, I see myself finding my identity in it.

I’m depressed.

I have anxiety.

Words commonly misused and misinterpreted by others to mean “I’m sad,” “I had a bad day,” “I’m nervous” or “I’m stressed out.”

That is not what it means.

Depression is fighting so hard to look like I’m happy when I feel like I’m sinking in a hole. It’s going through the motions of life, but not feeling any joy. Getting home from work and going to bed not because I’m tired but simply because I do not want to be awake. It’s feeling like I’m a nuisance, like a mosquito buzzing in everyone’s ears when I try to be happy. For me, it’s feeling annoying, dramatic, too loud.

It’s being afraid to tell anyone I get close to what I’m going through because I don’t want them to see me as a “downer” or needy. But at the same time, it’s feeling like I can never actually be close to someone who doesn’t accept what I’m going through. Is someone who won’t be there for me during this time worth my time anyways? For me, the answer is no. But I’m still afraid of getting left.

You don’t see it in my everyday life. It’s called high-functioning depression. I’m competitive and a hard worker because I find my worth in it. I can’t stand being told someone is better than me because deep down, I will never feel like I’m enough. Not smart enough. Not funny enough. Not thin enough. Not pretty enough. I constantly make a joke out of things because I struggle to deal with real emotions. If I make a joke out of it, can it really affect me? Yes, but no one will know that.

I feel I have to act happy. Smile. Not be too loud or I’ll be annoying. Not be too quiet or I’ll be awkward. Work hard, but don’t look like I care too much or I’ll be a try hard. If I don’t care at all, I’ll feel like a loser. I need balance. I need peace. But all I want to do is sleep.

I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. I just want you to understand. When I get really low, I sleep a lot a whole lot because sometimes sleeping is better than being awake. Sometimes it’s better than being with people and better than being with myself because I feel bored and claustrophobic and trapped. Sometimes the thought of living my life makes me tired. It seems so tiring because I struggle to look forward to anything. But I want to live. I want to want to live every day.

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 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Thinkstock photo via Silmairel.

Originally published: April 12, 2017
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