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The Danger in Pretending to Be OK as Someone With Depression

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I’ve lost count of the days. I’ve lost count of time, but I know it’s been a while. More than a week, more than a few. Maybe it’s been a month, maybe two, maybe three. All I know is I’ve forgotten how to feel. I’ve forgotten how to cry and how to endure pain. I’ve pushed my feelings and my issues so deep down that they’ve been buried under layers and layers of fake smiles, fake laughs, fake happiness. Or half-ass happiness. No one knows. No one sees it. I haven’t mentioned it to anyone, and I’m sure no one suspects it. Maybe they see that I’m a little distant or a little cold, but I justify it with the same excuses — I’m busy. I’m tired. I’m sorry.

I’m sorry, but I’ve been lying. I have lied about reading the posts you have messaged me, about watching the TikToks, about listening to the songs, about reading your messages, about putting my attention and my care into what you all have handed me. I have lied about being OK because I’ve been lying to myself, too. I keep saying, “later. I’ll deal with it later.” But later never comes and soon enough, I’m drowning because my heart can’t handle this much pain. I’ve felt so numb and I haven’t been able to figure out why I feel so much pain (it turns physical when I don’t accept it emotionally), but I just don’t even know. I don’t know what my problems are because they’ve been pushed so deep down.

All I know is that I’ve been pretending to be OK so I can avoid my pain and be more helpful to everyone around me. I don’t want to put my problems on other people when I know that they have their own shit going on. But I’ve reached my breaking point. I don’t know what to say or what to feel, but my chest hurts, I can’t breathe, my head is throbbing and my tears are flowing but struggling. I feel alone. I feel unheard. I feel lost. I feel numb. I feel broken. The only thing I know right now is that I’m not OK. I don’t really know why or where it started or how to stop it. But I know that my lack of sleep, my desire to never leave my bed, my physical pain, my emotional numbness, my desire to self-harm and my occasional thoughts about falling asleep to never wake up aren’t OK anymore.

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It seems unrealistic to expect people to care about me the way I care about them. I guess you could say I’m too selfless, dropping everything for others and pushing my own feelings and issues aside to help others. But is asking for a little support back too much to ask for? I feel lonely, I feel disregarded when I tell someone “I’m struggling” and they ignore my cry for help. I just want someone to hear me.

So if you’re reading this and you’ve noticed that I have been giving you my all, maybe it means I have nothing left to give to myself, and I need your help and support to love myself a little again. I need your voice in my head reminding me that I can get through this again.

Getty image by Victor_Tongdee

Originally published: December 6, 2020
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