Friday, January 23, 2015
Putting on a Mask
I've realized the last few years in dealing with depression, anxiety, and now Lyme Disease and Hypothyroidism, sometimes you need to be fake and pretend. I've had so many times where I was hanging out with friends or at a church function and I was on the verge of breaking down mentally, or I felt like I was going to black out and someone would come up to me and say, " why aren't you smiling!? You look depressed!" Uhm. I am depressed? I know these are always well intended comments and are only said to get you talking. But honestly, none of us will never know what someone is going through- so it's good to be a little conscious of that.
Instead of breaking down and admitting I am depressed or am in serious physical pain, I always just giggle and give them the smile they desperately need.
A lot of people have also said to me, or to my family that they don't understand how I'm sick because I always look so healthy and I take good care of myself. To be honest, I'm kind of glad they don't realize the extent of what happens when you have these illnesses- it makes it easier to hide and not talk about. Even the closest of friends could never know what someone is going through unless they ask and are there for a panic attack or watch the color drain out of your face and see your hands start to shake as your body covers itself in sweat.
I've always told my self to not share any of this and to quietly sneak out when these symptoms start to arise. Someone will be having a conversation with me and in my head I hear nothing they're saying- I smile and nod, while thinking to myself to grab the chair for support and steady my breathing. But this really isn't fair to myself. I wish I would have learned this earlier..But if you are on the verge of a panic attack, or are thinking you're about to faint, you should sit down! You shouldn't force yourself to appear like everything is perfect.
A friend said this to me the other day who is very familiar with these illnesses. She said "If you had cancer people would be lining up at your door asking how you are doing and bringing you food, but you have an illness that no one wants to believe exists." It makes them uncomfortable. So me and just about every one else who struggles will do so silently. I'm thankful for these illnesses because I now know to watch out for those who may be struggling and to never force any thing on someone. And I can understand what others are going through..That at least I am thankful for...