Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Face behind the many masks. The true face of Depression

Nothing snaps you back to reality, making you realize you have a problem than sitting in your doctor's office as he gives you the result of a questionnaire you just did on how bad your depression is and you score in the moderately to severely depressed category. After the "Are you suicidal question?" it felt like a snap back to reality. One that made me look deep inside myself to answer, but in the process woke me up. Woke me up from this haze of pretending everything was ok, when it was not. Now I am a smart enough person to recognize when I need help or that my routine isn't working for me, thus me sitting in a doctor's office doing a questionnaire about how depressed I am. I am not stupid enough to think I have never had a problem with depression. In fact, it has been a constant struggle all my life. It has been a struggle trying to find the right cocktail that works for me, so when I hit my lows, I have something that works for me. Its when I hit my lows, its the one surprising think about me. I can put on a mask and pretend I am not dying inside.

I try to be open, as I am willing, about my struggle, as most people don't often see that side of me. The mask I wear most days, is a happy, easy going person. A person who always has a smile on their face and hopefully a demeanor that puts people at ease. A person who is there when you need something of her and doesn't expect anything in return, except for a smile back. For me, there are days where it is just a struggle just to put that mask upon my face and pretend that all my worries and anxieties aren't bringing me down. There are the days where I slip and I am vulnerable. I hate that. I hate when people can see your weakness, because as we all know there are people that will take that to torment you with. There are the few that will help you back up when you stumble and fall, but in the harshness of this world, those people are very few in numbers. To person who is struggling to stay afloat, the harsh outside world is not the ideal place as it plays on our weakness, thus put in motion our anxieties.

A few years ago, I was diagnosed as clinically depressed. Started seeing a therapist and was put on medication to help me function. I knew at the time, that this was the first time in my life where I didn't see myself as a person who had the occasional highs and lows.  I knew that everyone in their life time gets depressed, but most bounce back. Thanks to a little therapy, maybe medication and a good support network. Clinical Depression echoed in my head like a swiss yodeler as it was made very clear by my therapist at the time, that this was something I was going to have to work with for the rest of my life. Now I get that I don't have some life threatening disease, I do have something that effects the way I function and feel. Where at times I can't help my brain from running amuck. I can't help those times where I feel so low, I can't see the fading light above me. That asking for help sometimes isn't an option for me, as I don't think people will understand or will label me crazy or unstable.

For people who are battling depression, it isn't as simple as trying to think happy thoughts and pushing the bad ones out. It's more than that. Most of us don't sleep well, we lose interest in stuff that normally we care about. There is very little motivation to care.

I am not going to post a selfie with my medications with a big happy smile on my face nor am I going pretend that everything is ok with my life. In truth, depression for me, is the face behind that mask. Yes I am medicated and yes I go to therapy, but I am not a happy person inside behind the mask I wear. I am a sad, angry person, that wears her emotions on her sleeve,  who wishes she wasn't like that. Wishes she didn't have this pain inside. A person that wishes that some days her smile was genuine and not plastered on.

With everything that has gone on in my life in the past two years. Deployments, diagnoses, going back to work, it has taken a toll on my mental health. Some days are good, but some days are bad. When its good, the sun is shinning brightly, but when it's bad, the thunder and lightening are very present, its on those days where I need someone standing there with an umbrella.

I know this going to blow people's minds who know me, as most see me as a bubbly, happy person 90% of the time. Know that writing this, opens me up to vulnerability in my own mind. Some might see it as me being silly and not in touch, some might see it as a ridiculous ploy but some might see it as something they identify with. Regardless on how you see it, it this is my story to tell, whether or not you agree.

My hope is that one day with the right cocktail, I will be back to being that happy, jovial person, but in the meantime, I will put my mask back on, while I continue to work on myself to be a better person for myself and those around me. Pardon the mess.