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To the People I Need to Remeet Because of My Mental Illness

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Do you remember me? We’ve met! Maybe briefly over a shared acquaintance or friends of friends. Maybe we were at a family get together when we had a brief chat? Whenever it was, know this: When we met, I wasn’t myself.

You saw me. You spoke to me. You saw my physical presence, but we didn’t really “meet.” When we met, the real me was somewhere deep, deep down inside, peeking at you from some abyss within myself. I heard you. I answered your questions and I might have even told a funny anecdote, but we didn’t really “meet.” Think back. I probably only spoke about myself, and only when directly asked. I would have given a safe story I knew went down well, and something others had likely heard a hundred times. This was because I was terrified of the impression I would make, and I knew I wasn’t quite myself at that moment. So, I’d give you very little to judge me on. The bare minimum without seeming rude.

I wouldn’t have asked you very many questions for a couple of reasons. Neither one of them being that I don’t care or didn’t want to know about your life. First, I didn’t think you’d really want to have this conversation with me. I’d probably ask some question that would go horribly wrong like, “Are you married?” to the couple going through divorce. Perhaps, I’d ask something that had just been mentioned because I’d drifted momentarily. Normally, I’d be able to laugh this kind of stuff off and navigate the situation smoothly, but not then.

Secondly, it’s exhausting to be out and socializing when you feel like this, like you’re operating some puppet with the world’s heaviest strings. You have to remember to smile at the right time or learn everyone’s names. Normally, I’d love this. I’d be the first person up and chatting. I’d be great with names, but not then.

I probably seemed like a quiet, shy girl with not much to say, nice enough but nothing of substance. I promise, you were seeing 1 percent of me. You were seeing what was left of my personality, after I’d battled with myself to get out of the house and been exhausted by the first conversation I had. You were seeing someone whose other 99 percent was busy at war with their own mind.

You were seeing “energy-saving” Amy. A grey screen had come down, minimal apps were available and further connections would hammer my battery life. Now, I’m pleased to say my battery is fully-charged. I’m back at the helm and I can’t wait for you to meet me properly.

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Originally published: August 3, 2016
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