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Why People Are Usually Surprised When I Say I Have Depression

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It is something few people know. It is actually something only a handful of close friends know. I don’t shout it from the rooftops. But the reality is here, and when people learn I have depression, they’re usually surprised.

Because there is another thing… something actually a lot of people know. I don’t shout it from the rooftops either. But I have shown what I can do. I have proved my worth, and above all, my strength to many.

I am a strong, young woman living with depression, and to most, it doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t match their definition or their idea of what a mental illness “looks” like, as if the two were somehow incompatible. But they are, or at least can be.

I wake up in the morning like everybody, but sometimes my eyes are still heavy from having cried too much the night before. My wrists are bruised and hurting from hitting myself too hard.

I eat breakfast too, but not always all of it. I skip lunch – often – and pretend I never really have lunch and that it’s completely normal and nothing to worry about.

I went to university and have just been awarded a master of arts with merit, but I never filled in an extenuating circumstances form to receive any sort of accommodations, when I could have done so time and time again because I wasn’t getting on with anything or seeing the point of the course itself anymore.

I go to work and freelance now, but I have a hard time finding the focus, energy, and drive, I was so full of once. And sometimes, I also break down in the middle of the day and need to close the curtains to prevent the light from coming in and giving me a headache; I sit against the wooden frame of my bed and tie my arms around my knees, holding myself tight until the tears have stopped falling down and the storm has passed.

In the evening, I like to spend some time with my flatmates and chat about our day and lives, but I more often lock myself up in my cold bedroom, suddenly made absolutely dull, because I crave isolation, because I am easily overwhelmed – even by the tiniest of things.

Sometimes I go out and try to be a little sociable, but I almost always end up in tears, for crowds engulf me in their constant back and forth and flow of unnecessary conventional catchphrases, and it is exhausting.

And I have my friends. I hang out with some from time to time – we go to the movies, to art fairs, or simply to the restaurant. But I like solitude a lot. Partly because of my depression, partly because I’ve always been this way, and a lot of my friends – despite asserting the opposite – have left the sinking boat, or at least keep away from my inner monsters the best they can. And it’s OK – they’re not to blame; it takes a great deal of strength and courage to carry your own as well as someone else’s challenges once in a while. That’s why I am thankful I have a best friend.

I live the daily life of a young, strong-headed woman, with billions of ideas and projects in mind. But I crash down at pretty much any time of day or night. When I wake up, I don’t see the brave and determined girl I am and who others see. When I wake up, I can only see the face of a lost, hopeless soul.

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 “START” to 741-741.

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Thinkstock photo by thomasandreas

Originally published: March 21, 2017
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