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The Me I Allow Other People to See

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I hide my anxiety and depression. I hide it well. Every day.

In the morning, my alarm goes off or it doesn’t depending on what day it is. Either way, I struggle to get out of bed. I usually set my alarm early so I can give myself time to lie in bed for a while and find the strength to actually get up. I know this may sound dramatic to some people, but it’s actually a real issue. I just cannot be bothered to get out of bed. I can’t see the point.

When I finally get out of bed, I wash up, put my makeup on, do my hair and get dressed. I usually do this in between just sitting on my bed for a few minutes and staring into space. I then plaster a smile on, go downstairs for a cup of tea and say good morning to anyone in the kitchen.

If I’m at university that day or I’m meeting a friend, I get ready, go out and act “normal.” I laugh, smile and engage in conversation. I get on with my work or I get the shopping I’ve come out for.

What nobody sees is that actually, I feel shocked. I have no motivation at all. I’m walking around in a cloud. My chest feels tight, and my mind feels blank. I almost feel as though I don’t care while caring too much at the same time.

I forcibly laugh when I probably don’t need to. I’m overenthusiastic just so people think I’m fine. They don’t actually see that I feel like crying and that I’d actually much rather be in bed ignoring the world and my responsibilities. They don’t see my smile is absolutely forced, and my eyes are unfocused because I’m so tired.

I yawn because I got half an hour of sleep last night, and when they joke that I should have gone to bed earlier, I laugh along with them. I’m suddenly really annoyed because they don’t understand that no matter how early I go to bed, I still don’t get to sleep. They don’t notice when I check my phone, it’s because I’m dying for the evening to come quicker. I just want to be in my bedroom, alone. I don’t enjoy going out anymore.

I’ve become quite moody lately just because I’m sick of it. I’m sick of acting fine. I’m sick of participating. It’s exhausting. I snap quickly when I’m around people. I’m by myself as much as I can be. They don’t see me nearly cry when they tell me I need to start thinking positively if I actually show any real emotion.

Talking about my problems, “thinking positive,” it doesn’t work like that. I don’t miraculously feel better when I talk about something that upset me last year. That isn’t how my depression works.

So instead, I pretend to be fine because it saves the lectures from people who don’t understand. People don’t see the real me. They see the me I pretend to be, the one who doesn’t feel depressed. The me who smiles when talked to, even though inside I’m not smiling, not at all. The me who hides my anxiety and depression. Every day.

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Image via Thinkstock.

Originally published: January 18, 2017
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