You might not know this yet, but I have depression. I haven’t told you because I don’t want you to look at me differently or treat me differently. I have good days and I have bad days, just like you. My lows just happen to be lower and harder to manage.
Depression isn’t who I am, it’s just something I have.
I would rather say I have depression than to say I’m depressed. Depression is a mental illness that I will continue to manage every single day. However, I don’t feel depressed every day. Some days I feel completely fine and others I can barely drag myself out of bed. Some days I wake up excited and ready to take on the day. Others, I can’t wait to get home and hide from the world. Some days I feel positive and optimistic. Others, I feel helpless and worthless.
Despite this, nothing caused my depression. It wasn’t my most recent breakup. It wasn’t the job I applied for and didn’t get. It wasn’t the disagreement we had last week. Sure, an event might trigger the symptoms of my depression, but it was already there. I was just doing a good job of hiding it. The longer I hide it from you, the better I get. I can dress up, trade laughs over brunch, and share a picture-perfect Instagram post, all while feeling like a part of me is crying inside.
I understand you won’t want me to feel this way. I don’t want to feel this way either. Please try to understand when I’m having a bad day and I can’t snap out of it, I’m not being dramatic or looking for attention. Depression isn’t just feeling sad, and it isn’t something I can just get over. Believe me, if I could, I would.
Having depression is exhausting.
It’s not uncommon for me to go through a full range of emotions in one day, or even one afternoon. I worry that people don’t like me, and I worry that I’m not enough. I overthink everything, analyze every word someone says, and read into every facial expression someone makes. I think of all the things I did wrong and all of the things I could have done better. At the end of the day, I barely have the energy to watch TV or read a book. I just want to escape my thoughts and numb my feelings.
Yet, I’m not something to be fixed. I’m an imperfect person who only wants to feel understood, loved, and accepted. If I tell you I’m not happy, please don’t list the reasons I should be. If I feel like a failure, don’t rattle off my accomplishments. I already know all of these things; I just need to sort through them aloud with someone I trust. Someone who can just listen.
Be patient with me.
I’m sorry if I seem distant. It really isn’t you, it’s me. I appreciate your opinions, even when I seem upset. I’m tougher on myself than anything you could ever say. I’m excited about your new boyfriend, even when I have a hard time showing it. I’ve feel like I’ve forgotten how to express joy. I want to meet you for happy hour, even when I cancel our plans. I don’t feel good about myself and the thought of being in a public place makes me feel more insecure. I also don’t know if I have the energy to change into real clothes and style my hair. I miss you.
I miss me, too. I miss the girl who had big dreams and believed in herself and her abilities. I miss the girl who was always on the go and didn’t feel drained after doing her makeup. I miss the girl who made friends easily because she wasn’t worried what anyone thought of her. She was authentic and self-assured. I look in the mirror and I wonder where that girl went.
I’m slowly starting to see her more often. I’m learning again to live in the moment. I’m teaching myself to look at things from a new perspective. I’m practicing grace and kindness toward myself. Most importantly, I’m opening up and sharing my story with you.
I know it isn’t always easy, but I promise, I am trying. Thank you for listening and not judging me. Thank you for trying to understand how I’m feeling.
Thank you for accepting all versions of me. Most of all, thank you for being my friend.