Depression is not something you choose to have. It is much more than not being happy at a given moment or having a bad day.

It is constantly fighting a battle with yourself, it is the all-consuming and overwhelming emotional pain that doesn’t seem to go away. Depression is being afraid of what comes next, it is feeling hopeless, helpless and empty. It is being exhausted and emotionally drained from life. It is not seeing a way out.

However, when you live with high-functioning depression, nobody sees any of this. Instead, you wear a mask on your face and you go through life, pretending that everything is in perfect order. You lie to yourself and you lie to everyone around you.

If all of this sounds familiar to you, it is possible that you are suffering from masked depression and here are 6 things you will most likely relate to.

1. Everyone assumes you are the happiest and strongest girl they know

Everyone in your surroundings admires you for your positive spirit and for the fact that apparently, nothing and nobody can take the smile off your face. You are simply too strong to let life knock you down—whatever happens to you, you take it as a challenge and you rise from it in no time. You are probably one of the happiest people they know, someone who always tries to look at things from a brighter perspective, someone who always sees the light at the end of the tunnel and the person who has faith in a better tomorrow, no matter what.

2. While you’ve actually reached breaking point

Nevertheless, this couldn’t be further from the truth. This is nothing but your mask for the world. Nothing but a disguise and false pretenses.

The truth is that you are actually breaking down on the inside as we speak. That each one of your smiles is actually fake and that they hide hundreds of tears.

The truth is that you feel like you’ll snap anytime now and that you’ve reached breaking point. That you are overwhelmed and feel like you can’t take it anymore.

3. You are the one who always takes care of others

You don’t know how it happened but somehow, you’ve become the one who solves other people’s problems. With time, you’ve become your friends’ guardian angel, their advisor and their shoulder to cry on.

You’ve become known as this compassionate and empathetic girl who always does her best to take a walk in other people’s shoes. A girl who takes care of others and their needs, a girl who is never too busy to hear you out and a girl who doesn’t turn down anyone who comes to her for advice.

4. But you can’t find a way to take care of yourself

What they don’t know is that you are actually the one who needs help and guidance. That while you’ve been fighting everyone else’s battles, you didn’t have the strength to confront your inner demons.

What they don’t know is that it is easier for you to deal with other people’s problems than to look your own in the eye. That it is easier for you to be this superwoman who takes care of others than to admit that sometimes, taking care of yourself seems like a mission impossible.

5. You are constantly surrounded by people

Just because you are fighting with depression, it doesn’t mean that you are an introvert who spends most of her time by herself. No, you are probably always surrounded by people and you have a big group of friends.

6. But there is no one who really understands you

Nevertheless, none of these people, including the ones closest to you, have any idea that you are actually lonely most of the time, even when you are in the most crowded places. They don’t have a clue about everything you’re going through, right under their noses. None of these people know anything about your inner darkness and your internal struggles.

They know nothing about all those tears you wiped away by yourself, about all those times you screamed, making sure no one could hear you and nothing about all those sleepless nights you spent crying behind closed doors. When they see you laughing every day, they don’t have a clue that getting out of bed every morning has become a challenge for you. They have no idea about everything you are going through by yourself, just because you are too ashamed to ask for help.

Too ashamed to take off this mask of a brave, tough girl who can handle whatever life throws at her. Too ashamed to expose your vulnerable sides and weak points to anyone and even to yourself.

Selma June
A teacher. A dreamer. A writer. A woman who’s been through all of the things you are going through. A woman who’s learned on her mistakes and whose advice you can trust. A woman who is trying to find her place under the stars. A woman just like you.
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