I personally suffer from severe depression and severe anxiety (mostly with socializing) and for the longest I just thought nobody could understand me. In high school, I had a few friends but I still felt like they didn’t understand what was going on in my head or the way I acted. I wore a mask of sorts in high school to hide who I really was.
I’m extremely introverted so I would rather stay home and read a good book or play a game rather than go to parties. Honestly, I’m still that way.
I didn’t even find out about my depression and anxiety until I was 24. My whole life I thought something was wrong with me and that I was too different to just “fit in.”
When I actually found out that there was a reason behind the way I acted, it was bittersweet. I was glad I finally knew what was going on but at the same time I felt like I was broken.
In my family, when someone has a mental disorder like depression, they are shunned in a way. They see them as unstable and “sick in the head.” Growing up my mother had bipolar depression that she didn’t manage well at all so she is the original origin of the negative thoughts surrounding mental illness in my family. Because of that, my mom was never able to get help. She just saw herself as broken and unfixable. Family stopped visiting and reunions were magically canceled at the last minute.
I don’t know if it was because nobody knew how to understand someone with mental health issues or if they were just stupid.
When we actually went to reunions, they treated her like a child or a breakable glass figurine. They talked to her slow and always found a way to bring up her depression. She finally couldn’t take it anymore and she just locked herself in her room for days on end. Our family treating her like that broke her spirit in a way. Then things got bad. She thought we (my sister and I) were against her like the rest of the family and she took her anger out toward them on us. I won’t go into specifics in this post. That’s a story for another day.
The last day my mother told me she loved me was when I was 9 years old.
Things got so bad, the only meals I had were at school or neighbors houses (during the summer) and eventually the school got involved.
On January 17, 2006 around 4pm, my sister and I were taken from our house and put into the foster care system. Eventually, my maternal grandparents took us in and my aunt became my main caregiver. I was finally free to be a kid, but the damage had been done.
My point behind this post is not to make you feel sorry for me or anyone with mental illness. It’s so people see that the way they treat those with mental illnesses makes a difference. By someone calling my mom sick all of the time she eventually began to believe she was sick. Depression makes us see the worst in everything (mostly ourselves and our life) and overthink everything. Don’t treat people with mental illnesses differently in any way. That’s how I want it. When I’m talking to others I want to feel “normal” for once.
I hate talking to my doctor about my mental illness. I feel ashamed and child-like. There are things I want to tell them but my anxiety says, “That’s so bizarre that they won’t even believe it.” There are things that nobody knows about me because I still wear the happy mask every day. I am a stay-at-home mom and the heartbeat of this household. Without me, things won’t get done. I can’t have a “sick day” every once in a while. I have to be on top of everything. And it exhausting. My only me time is at the end of the day when I go to bed and I’m able to listen to music and not be here for those few hours.
Nobody knows how bad my anxiety and depression are. Nobody except those who read this and my other blog posts.