Wanna Know a Secret? This Smile is Fake.

 I just want to say that I am a typically private person. I know, I know, I write a blog that talks about all my feelings and whatnot, but that’s different. It’s not everything. No one writes the horrible, raw, painful, and heartbreaking trials of their life for the entertainment of others. I mean why would you? For one it’s a little sadistic as entertainment, and for two well it’s hard enough to deal with alone without everyone else’s pitying eyes. Everyone has their own heartbreak and their own issues they deal with, why tell them mine? It hardly affects them.

I think the reason I’m finally writing this is because of the fact that though the impact may be minuscule, and most people don’t care to know, someone else feels this way too and if I can let them know they aren’t alone and they always have an ally in me, how could I possibly keep it to myself?

I am not always an easy person to get along with, I have long since held my trust close and coveted so afraid of it being shattered like every other time I let someone hold it. I am emotionally distant only opening up the amount needed to sustain relationships, terrified of showing the broken light that is hanging within. I have a harsh exterior, jaded from years of rejection, heartache, and disappointment.

I may have looked to you like I had it all together, but I never did.

And this is where the tone changes.

Remember when you go through recovery no one, and I mean no one, is more affected than the people who aren’t you and were hardly there to begin with.

*she said bitterly and sarcastically*

Perhaps many didn’t understand me when I said I went to rehab because I worded it so prettily *rolls eyes*. When I went to the hospital, it was rehab.

Before you ask or say anything

  • Yes it really was that serious
  • I am aware I looked like I had it all together
  • Rehab didn’t make me magically better with 5 days of boredom and AA meetings
  • I am still barely hanging on
  • Yes you mentioned you didn’t know, It’s because you never asked
  • Again, I know I seemed so happy. Seemed looks like the keyword.

…Need I go on.

When I got out of rehab things were very different in my life. Those 5 days were not sunshine and roses I’ll tell you that. It was emotional numbness and hunger for food that wasn’t weird, for my jacket that I couldn’t have because it had a string, for a shower with a real door and a mattress that wasn’t harder than most floors.

I had to make hard decisions. I had to leave my school. I had to leave the people I had made my family and those who I thought were my friends. I had to abandon my carefully constructed timeline. I had to say goodbye to the things I never got a chance to see. It was and is a horrible punishment, one that wasn’t even earned I might add, one I got simply for having an unhealthy balance of chemicals in my brain.

It was my choice, yes. But when you are told you can choose to listen to your doctor and leave and live or attempt to go back at it only to end up back or worse dead…the choice is obvious, isn’t it?

I left expecting to go into open arms of the support I thought I had built with the family that vowed to be there.

The reality? An empty room and judgment about how disappointing it was that I wasn’t as strong as I looked as if I wasn’t upset about it either.

*record screeches*

Uhm excuse me? Disappointing? Oh pardon me, I apologize for not falling apart to your standard, for not appearing broken enough for it to be serious, for not scheduling a better date for you when my entire psyche was falling to pieces.

Not everything is perfect. And I sure as hell am not.

The funny thing about a breakdown is that it often happens from a lack of support. The Jenga blocks were wobbling, the facade was cracking, the pressure was building. I was out in the middle of a tightrope with the promise of a net, only to go tumbling down into a field of thorns.

I wonder, do you think I smiled for my sake, or yours? I think it’s interesting that so many pieces of my protective facade were able to fool you when in reality all you had to do was ask a few questions, or look into my eyes with every I’m fine. Instead of just accepting it because you didn’t want to have to believe differently.

I hope my anger is apparent to you. Because it’s not just anger, it’s fury.

I can handle strangers telling me that depression isn’t real or that my life looks so easy, or that it must be nice not to have to care.

What I couldn’t handle. My best friends, gone, no words, just disappeared. My “family” unresponsive and disappointed. My support, non-existent, only there because I offered something of my own.

So quite honestly forgive me if I just don’t give a fuck what you think about how I handled my situation because you honestly didn’t give a fuck about me.

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Depression Looks Like You.

When you think of depression what comes to mind? Someone who doesn’t speak to anyone and appears anti-social? Someone who wears all black and recites morbid poetry? Someone who is covered in scars and constantly needing to be brought to the hospital? Someone who sits around all day and never appears to have any motivation?

Well, you’re not wrong, a lot of those people are probably suffering from depression…but so are people just like you.

That person with the perfect GPA and list of extracurriculars so long it can’t fit on one page. That person you have never seen without a smile on their face. That person who seems like everything is under control and they have it all together. That person who knows when, where, and how they are going to achieve their life plan. That parent who loves their child so much and seems like the picture perfect PTA parent.

Those people, they have it too. They suffer just as much if not more than some of the others. The scary thing about depression is that you don’t know what it looks like and it could happen to anyone. It could be happening to your closest friend and you might not even notice it.

People cope in their own ways, maybe you didn’t think about it but the perfect GPA was because by constantly focusing on their work and classes they were able to ignore the feelings of inadequacy and despair. Perhaps they have a smile because it’s easier than sharing that they aren’t okay and by pretending to everyone else, they may be able to fool themselves. That micromanagement of their future? With all that control how can you not be distracted? Picture perfect PTA parent? All that dedication, they couldn’t possibly be struggling, they made 4 trays of cupcakes for the bake sale and single-handedly organized the fundraiser for new books for the library.

No one really knows why people deal with things the way they do, they just do. Some people buy 8 planners and schedule every second of their life with “meaningful activities” and some people turn to a bottle of liquor and forget who they are. There is no one way to deal with emotions, or stress, or trauma, or expectation.

Rich? poor? black? white? Christian? Muslim? male? female? gay? straight? single? married? kids? and every category in between, Depression, it doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care who you are, it only demands to be felt.

Anyone can suffer because everyone has pain, everyone has heartbreak, and everyone has problems. But, not everyone has the support of people who love them that they can trust to walk them out of the darkness like a candle in the night.

My brain chemistry isn’t right, I’ve had things happen in my life that not many others have experienced. I live a life that seems like depression couldn’t possibly take root, I have parents who love me, I have never wondered where the next meal is coming from or if I’m going to have a place to sleep, and more often than not I got the gadgets and material objects I wanted, I got into and went to my first choice and very expensive private school, I was involved in clubs, I was doing what young adults are “supposed” to do. But nevertheless, I have depression, and until recently you probably wouldn’t have guessed that every day for more than 3 years I wished for an accidental overdose or a car accident.

For more than 3 years I’ve felt almost nothing but emptiness and the obligation to act otherwise, to not waste what others would “kill for”.

So please, spare me the lecture of how others would love to have my “charmed” life, trust me even with all my privilege, it’s not that special.

Pain isn’t a competition.

It’s not about the fact that people are starving everywhere in the world, and other people are oppressed for having opinions that are different or even for looking different. These things are real and awful and damaging. But their existence? They don’t change how my brain functions, they don’t make my suffering better, they don’t invalidate how anyone feels because feelings are personal and real and they aren’t related.

You may wonder why I share this, you also may not, that’s fine too, it’s how you feel, but I write this and I share this because of something very important to me.

I know I’m not the only one.

I am not the only person to surprise their whole family by having issues when “I seemed like nothing ever bothered me and I had it all together”. I’m not the only one who has withheld their personal trials and feelings to make others feel better because there isn’t any need to involve others who probably have bigger more important things to think about than me. I’m not the only one who is high-functioning despite having depression and can fool you by putting out a great paper and a smiling photo on Instagram.

I’m not the only one. And I’m not the last.