I am one of many faces of depression. No, depression is not always obvious. People seem to think that depression looks like something gloomy or frail, thrown together with the last thread of care, but sometimes depression is the brightest person in the room. It’s the person who makes your day enjoyable with their charm, the lady in the office who glows with excitement, the man in the church who you admire for his seemly ways. You’d never know in a million years that sometimes behind the smile… is a person with so many complex emotions bottled up inside. A person who is trying so hard to be strong for everyone, when they can barely manage to be strong for themselves. They know the feeling of loneliness, being unworthy, or not feeling loved. They protect you and shower you with so much kindness, so that you do not have to feel what they feel every day.
Struggle with depression means that today, I’d wake up like any other person, except the moment I opened my eyes, reality would instantly set in. A river of emotions could possibly flood my mind. Even though I was thankful to be alive, depression would still make me unsure of how to face the day. When I finally got out of bed, I would most likely be weary or afraid. While getting ready, I’d force a smile and silently reassure myself that I could fake it another day, if I needed to.
See, depression is like a social mask that you slip on. A mask that helps you greet people most days, even though you’re secretly drowning in your sorrows. Please understand that depression is a constant struggle. You’re trying to look sane for society, when really your mind is a complete mess.
When they asked me if I was okay, my response was, “I’m tired,” a reply mistaken time and time again for sleepy. I wasn’t sleepy tired, I was tired of fighting my own mind. Yet, they missed the hints, the signs, the clues. Not because they were oblivious, but because they didn’t understand. What’s the use in replying that you’re good when you’re not? I was always afraid to come out and openly admit my problem to the world, from feeling like they would reject me. So this is why I’d never answer anyone honestly.
Don’t get me wrong. There are good days. Days that are great. I laugh, I talk, I enjoy things. And sometimes I even think to myself that I’m perfectly okay. Feeling like maybe, just maybe, things are going back to normal. You have to realize though, at times that feeling fades as quickly as it comes. It’s like a switch clicks off without warning. I may have smiled today, but that doesn’t mean that I’m completely okay. I’m fine for the time being.
Confusing, isn’t it? Well, that’s my mind, day in and day out. I’m trying to explain this the best way I know how. If you’ve ever dealt with depression, then these words may make sense. If you haven’t, please spare me the harsh comments or snide remarks. Be mindful of how scary opening up can be. Exposing myself puts me at risk of getting hurt or being judged. Your careless remarks are liable to add onto my list of already growing insecurities.
I need your ear to listen, because for me, crying is therapy. I don’t want you to tell me I’m suicidal or that I need medication, because that is not always the case. I just need a person to trust in, someone to turn to. We are not crazy people. We need time to heal, time to think, time to fix the brokenness inside. We need support, we need love, we need reassurance.
Remember, we just cope differently with what life throws our way. Yes, we pray, we fight, we try. We are just people searching for the light at the end of the tunnel. A trace of hope. Something to save us from our despair.