Last week I read this book called Shadows in the Sun. About a year ago I was going through some things, I was feeling really depressed and anxious and my boyfriend bought me this book about a woman from India who went through depression and how she got through it. He bought this for me to learn from someone else who experienced mental illness and to help me get through it. This book is amazing, and I highly recommend it.
Although I have been feeling a lot better lately, I am still plagued by bouts of sadness and anxiety. This book really hit a note with me. The author deals with depression at a far more severe level than I do, however there are so many similarities that we experience. It is crazy how the mind works that it can make us feel so worthless. Sometimes it can get so severe, that although we don’t want to die, we want to end the suffering that plagues our minds.
Depression and anxiety is this invisible demon in our head, and no one can see it or understand it. People cannot understand why we ‘overreact’ to certain things, not understanding the bigger picture that is going on in someone’s life. When dealing with depression and anxiety it is so easy to let things take over your mind. And we are aware that the reaction is uncalled for in many situations but the mind is so strong. I have been there, where I just want to cry and think that the world is a dark, sad place, even though in reality everything is going good. And no matter how much you recognize it and try to turn it around there are times that it is so difficult to crawl out of that dark space in your mind. To the outside world it can look like you have the perfect life, and you just may, but it doesn’t change the tricks that the mind can play on you.
There are times when I wake up in the morning and just want to cry. I am sad and anxious about the day ahead even though nothing has happened recently. Past thoughts creep into my mind of a time when things weren’t so great and they project into my current life. The problem is, nobody wants to hang around sad people. Nobody likes the person that is always complaining. So instead of having the chance to deal with the issues that are going on in your head, you have to paint a fake smile on your face and push on with the day, burying the thoughts deep into your mind until you can come home at night to deal with them alone.
There are too many mornings where I feel unreasonably sad, but the moment I open that office door I become a different person. No one can know the true you. Because if they do, they might not want to be around you, because you’re that person walking around with the big, dark cloud over your head. So you continue to push it aside, never dealing with it. And that is what I do some days. Because sadly, I feel shame and embarrassment that I feel this way. So every day I walk into that office and act like the happiest, bubbliest person around, but some days it’s all a facade. Sometimes I think it’s better if people don’t know the real me. And I’ve played this act so many times, I don’t even know if I can turn it off when I’m in public anymore. That is the person that I want to be, so I push my deep secrets down to depths that they can’t find their way back up until I’m safely back in my home.
That’s the crazy thing about mental illness. It alters the way you think. It can’t be seen, so it’s like it doesn’t exist. If you walk into a room with a cast on your arm, people can see it, and can give you sympathy knowing that you are going through pain. But when you walk into a room afflicted with depression or anxiety, it’s the hidden ‘broken arm’, where no one will provide you sympathy, or can relate. What can’t be seen, doesn’t exist.
Yet the more I talk with people about the troubles I go through, the more I realize how many people are dealing with mild depression or anxiety. The more our society pushes things on us, the sadder we become. Yet still, it feels taboo to discuss this topic with anyone. You don’t want to be a “downer”. I can’t wait for the time where we can openly discuss mental illness, where people see it sympathetically and want to help each other out.
I know from talking to my friends about it that I feel so much better. I realize I’m not alone and there are people that can help. Even having one person in your life to talk to changes everything. You know on those low days you can turn to them and they will listen and relate. They know the pain and they want to help you deal with it, because they know the sorrow, the ups and the downs. They know the irrational feelings and the fight to get the mind straight again. Talking to someone makes the world of a difference.
I urge anyone who is going through these feelings to not hold it in. No matter how crazy you feel, you’re not alone. And although I am still struggling with it, I think it’s okay to let your guard down sometimes. Sometimes it’s okay to go out in public and not have a smile painted across your face. You don’t have to be tough all the time. And talk to someone. You will still be loved even if you let out you’re secret and let people know the true you.
We’re all in this together.