Robin Williams said “I think the saddest people always try their hardest to make people happy because they know what it’s like to feel absolutely worthless and they don’t want anyone else to feel like that.”
I’m sure you’ve heard that those that seem the happiest are often the most sad or external happiness can often be a facade for internal problems or to check on those the most happy, often they’re the ones that need it most.
They’re all true.
How do I know?
I have depression. I am that person who seems happy but on the inside I’m waging a war with myself.
Do you know what it’s like to feel alone? What it’s like to feel unbelievably sad all the time? What it feels like to burst into tears at any random moment for seemingly no reason? Do you know what it feels like to fake a smile and put on a brave face like nothing is wrong every single day? What it feels like to always be the strong one?
I do. I do times infinity.
WTF is that?!
My depression is known as “smiling depression”, which most people have never heard of. It’s when you are depressed but nobody knows it because you always seem fine, are always smiling or laughing, or have a brave face. The outside is hiding what’s buried within, the pain and the sadness.
I conducted a social media experiment. Probably the worst possible thing anyone could ever do, especially someone with depression.
This year has not been great. Not even good. It has sucked. My husband left on New Year’s Day for Oregon for his job. Being here, 2000 miles away from him, and alone with our 5 kids…well, it wasn’t easy. Then my husband got sick. Really sick. Sick enough that he ended up coming home and had to have surgery to remove his gallbladder. He was home a month, which meant zero income. Then when he was healed enough and the doctor gave him the ok, he left again for work. This time to Seattle, even farther from us here in SE Missouri.
I was already depressed but as the time went on I only fell deeper into that dark pit I always have trouble climbing out of.
Social Media Experiment and Depression
On April 6th my middle daughter turned 10 and as every year for every one of my kids’ birthdays I posted a photo collage and birthday wishes for her. Before that my last social media post was on March 18th. That was almost 3 weeks that I had posted nothing to my page (including pictures which I post often), commented on anyone’s posts, or even hit a like button. Nineteen days of my 253 friends seeing no action from me.
Not one single person messaged, texted, called, or posted to my page asking if I’m ok, if I’m sick, if something is going on. (I don’t blame them because they have their own lives and issues to deal with.) Of course my family was still around and we had a pretty nasty storm that for some reason urged a friend to make sure the kids and I were ok (which I greatly appreciated).
Do you have any idea what that does to a person who already feels alone? It makes them feel even more alone and eventually makes them realize that they ARE alone.
253 “friends”. No concern whatsoever.
F U Social Media
Social media. Is it good or bad? In this case bad because it caused more issues than I was already struggling with. It made me question whether anyone I know really is a friend or whether (no fault of theirs) we have all grown so far apart that the only people I have now are my children, my husband, and my family.
I know the answers. They aren’t something I want to come to terms with, but I know. And it’s ok. It isn’t anyone’s fault but my own. I have pushed and pushed and pushed all these people so hard and so far away. And it’s not their fault.
I’m alone. And I’m sad. I’m angry and annoyed. I feel like I have no worth other than to raise my children and be by my husband’s side. I feel overwhelmed and stressed beyond belief. I’m exhausted. I constantly worry and feel anxious and panicky. I feel empty, isolated, and abandoned. On top of all that I still have actual physical health issues to deal with. And I’m powerless to it all.
Depression isn’t always visible. In all honestly a lot more people are depressed than you would ever think because we have just learned to hide it all very well. “I’m ok” doesn’t always mean that…a smile, laughs, or just saying “I’m ok” don’t always mean it.
As a society we worry about the physical…our looks, our health. So we eat right, we exercise. But we don’t focus on our mental health. Mental illness isn’t a choice, it’s not like I woke up one day and said “Hey, you know it might be fun to try out that depression thing”. It just happens and even to the best of us.
Depression is…sleeping all day or not sleeping at all, ignoring calls and texts, feeling lonely but not wanting company. It’s not being able to get out of bed, not finishing anything, breakdowns, eating too much (or too little), crying because you’re overwhelmed, the constant need to be distracted, inability to function, not getting dressed or brushing your hair or teeth or even showering, never leaving your house. Depression is dishes all over the kitchen because the sink is already full, clean laundry piling up because you can’t put it away, a house that needs cleaned. It is a disease.
This is my house. My living room with toys thrown everywhere; in buckets, a laundry basket, and shoved under the table because I couldn’t put everything away. My sink full of dirty dishes; even though the dishwasher is empty I can’t put these dishes in. My bed and chest covered in 5 loads of laundry that I can’t sort, fold, and put away. Depression looks like this.
Strong for TOO Long
Depression. Anxiety. Panic attacks. They all have one thing in common. They aren’t signs of being weak, they are signs of being strong for far too long. The hardest part about being so strong is that nobody ever asks if you’re ok.
And I have been way too strong for way too long. I’m not ok. Eventually I was bound to break. Nobody is invincible.
P.S. I started seeing a counselor last week. She’s nice and listens, we’ll see how it goes.
Please get the help you need. Seeking help does not make you weak, it is one of the strongest things you can do. Talk to a counselor, psychiatrist, therapist, your doctor. Find what works for you.
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