I’ve been told before that I can’t have real depression because I was able to get out of bed and work. It was a horrible thing to hear. Yes, I did get out of bed and get to work but it took everything I had and it hurt like hell to do. But equally, there was no way I couldn’t not go to work.
I have the curse of high functioning depression. My depression does not look like most people think depression should look. And that means I don’t always get taken as seriously as I need and I get dismissed by friends, acquaintances and medical professionals.
I probably look my most professional and most together when my depression is at its worst. Only then do I wear makeup, dress smartly etc. I am not me at those times. If you ever see my wearing a suit, I am probably a complete and utter mess inside.
I was an A* student throughout school and left university with a masters in mathematics and the entire time I was severely depressed, suicidal, self harming and going through periods of anorexia. No one ever thought to look past that to see what I was hiding. No one ever saw my depression.
People have told me time and time again how strong I am and make it sound like a compliment. But inside I am screaming that I don’t want to be strong. I want to collapse in a heap and cry and never get out of bed and never speak to anyone ever again. But I don’t think I will ever be able to do that. I function with my depression. Or at least I do my best to make it look like I am. I go through the motions whilst desperately wishing I no longer existed.
One of my major triggers is invalidation. And the stereotypical symptoms or pictures people have of depression have led me time and time again to question my own depression. Doubting myself made me expect the rest of the world to doubt me. If I doubted it, would my GP just laugh at me?
Depression comes in many forms and looks like many different things. If someone has taken the time and effort to tell you they’re struggling, don’t tell them they aren’t.