There are two sides to me. One I try desperately to hide. One I dislike. One that never reveals itself in the beginning because I’ve mastered the art of pretending and hiding that version of myself. As if it’s an identity all its own.
It’s a word that means something a little differently to those live with it. Those who fight the battles that don’t seem to go away. This recurring thing that presents itself at the most inopportune moments.
Caught somewhere between laughing and smiling big. Then I just stop because it hit me. Stopping me dead in my tracks. Rearing its ugly head like an unwelcome houseguest who refuses to leave.
But when you meet me, you aren’t going to notice that side to me.
In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Happy. Smiling. Cracking jokes.
“You were just kinder than anyone I had ever met,” someone I dated once said describing the first time we met.
The truth is people with depression have a way of making everyone else around them feel a lot better because we know what it’s like to be our own worst enemy.
Maybe you’ll look at me and wonder about my flaws. The truth is I have plenty, I’ve just gotten very good at only presenting the parts of myself and my life that I would love to be the reality all the time.
As you get to know me you’ll look at me with admiration for how busy I am. For the things, I’ve accomplished. How I strive for success always pushing myself. Biting off more than I can chew and almost choking.
Perfect. Not perfect because I am but because I strive to be knowing very well I’m the farthest thing from it.
Maybe if I paint this version of myself and get people to believe it, I can rid myself of that other part that in times I’m ashamed to even identify with.
The nights where I’m not myself. The nights where I am hard to love. The nights where I’m difficult and moody and can’t even clearly articulate why I’m feeling this way, what caused it, or how to change it.
When depression hits there is no solution. There is just waiting out the storm until there is a shift within me then we go back to our normal lives.
But in those moments you’ll see how different I become. The way I speak and how different it sounds. My attitude.
The moments I push you away is when I need you most. Instead of admitting that it’ll pick a fight. I’ll tell you it’s okay to leave. That I understand if you want someone healthy. What I’m not saying is if you stay I’ll love you unconditionally for it.
It’s moments where 3am will strike and I’ll be wide awake with a hundred thoughts running through my head. “What are you like this?” “Why can’t you be normal?” The word normal haunts me because this isn’t normal. To feel everything this heavy. To feel everything this deeply. To hurt so much. To fall apart and cry to the point I’m inconsolable.
And there’s going to be nothing you can do to fix it. Instead, you’ll watch and hold me and say nothing. Because depression has a way of robbing anyone of words and explanations allowing an eerie silence to simply overtake me in moments while negativity plagues my mind.
Eventually I’ll get tired. Tired of thinking too much. Tired of feeling too much. Tired of beating myself up and being my own worst enemy.
I’ll fall asleep in your arms and I’ll hold you a little tighter. Because even though I might have moments of depression it doesn’t mean I don’t value you. It doesn’t mean I don’t love you.
The truth is there isn’t a love deep enough to save me from myself. But it’s that love which gives me hope.
You look at me a little differently after that first episode.
Where you saw strength in my eyes, you’ll see a little bit of vulnerability.
Where you saw persistence in the things I did, you’ll now understand resilience.
Where you once saw someone you questioned had flaws, you see them drawn out in every ugly color and you’ll understand why I try so hard to be perfect.
The feelings that will follow these episodes are extreme guilt. I’ll want to say sorry. I’ll want to say it won’t happen again. But more than anything I want to say thank you.
Once you see that side of me, it almost helps you to understand the other half of me too.
I’m kind because there is a part of me that is mean to myself .
I’m bright and positive because I know what it’s like to sit in darkness.
I strive for success and perfection because of these flaws that are so obvious to me.
I’m friends with everyone because I know what it’s like to feel alone.
I stay busy because if I don’t my mind will take over and take me to dark places.
I’m compassionate and understanding because behind my own silence are the things I deal with alone.
I’m hopeful because I know what it feels like to flirt with the line of complete defeat and want to give up.
I feel so deeply. And I can’t explain that one. I still struggle to understand why couldn’t I just be normal like everyone else and happy all the time without lingering shadow haunting me.
But it’s that same shadow that made me the person I am.
I’ll return to that version of myself you fell for. You’ll watch me across the room, me laughing and smiling and joking. You’ll still admire how I can light up any room I walk into.
But what you know that others might not is how quickly that can change behind closed doors. How unpredictable it is. How I’ll never ask for help but in moments I fall to my knees you’re the one who’s going to have to be strong.
On the surface, I paint this version of the person I want to be. But as you get to know me you’ll see two very different sides to someone who looks the same.
There are two sides to every coin and while I’ll always be in favor of heads when it flips, I can’t deny there’s another half to me just because most people can’t see it.
That other part that’s watching and waiting and lingering.
But what I’ve come to learn about living with depression is the closest I can ever come to ridding myself of it are in the healthy relationships I find. The people who make me feel normal and healthy. And it’s those people I owe everything to.,
So on the days I’m not myself and I’m a little difficult to love please don’t ever forget how much I do love you and appreciate you and value you.
And I wish I could be that perfect person you deserve but we all come bearing flaws mine just happen to be in a battle against myself.