This is the face of Depression.
No, it doesn’t look like the Eor, moppy face sad sack from the Zoloft commercial. Bouncing along, leading you to believe the blues are Readily recognizable on everyone shopping in their bed slippers and bathrobe. It might look like that, but more often than not it looks a lot like the Life of the party. The charismatic PTA mama (that is most definitely not me) who’s always the Center of attention. The one who spends so much energy entertaining everyone that she Crashes after each gathering.
“I tried calling Nikki to see if she wanted to do lunch, but she hasn’t returned any of my calls?”
Sound familiar? Yeah, you’re not gonna get a response until she Recharges, because her battery has been completely depleted. She put on her happy face and braved the social interaction, but then retreated and fell off the grid; hiding in the safety of isolation. The outside world can only assume she’s either busy, because her life is so awesome, or she’s just not great at communicating. No one knows the struggle behind her smile.
Depression can look exactly like what you’d never think it would.
It isn’t always the woman who never gets her kids to school on time. Sometimes, it’s the mom who set the alarm extra early just so she could have the 20 minute, “ GET UP!” self-debate. With strategic planning, and some Forceful choice words for her inner Debbie downer, (who is absolutely sure no good will come from facing another day) she was able to get them there right before the bell rang and avoid any suspicion that her ducks are not only out of line but that half of them are probably in the neighbor’s pond; She’s not quite sure.
She may not look like the woman dragging herself through the day, running on 5 cups of coffee. There’s always that one upbeat, cheerful mom you only see Periodically. You only see her once in awhile because that’s the only energy she has. Any other time, you barely catch more than a glimpse or a wave. She stresses to her child to “be ready” and “be outside”, so she doesn’t have to come in and Interact with anyone. These moms generally dread signing their kids in and out of anywhere, and rejoice anytime someone offers to do it for them.
It might not be a stay at home mom laying on the couch, watching Grey’s Anatomy reruns all day. So many people managing depression force themselves through the tasks of the day so it Appears that they are functioning; while behind the scenes their symptoms are debilitating. When a person is visibly depressed to any random onlooker, It’s not good. There was likely a straw, that tipped all the weight they’ve been working hard to hold up. If you can actually see their struggle, it may have reached a place where it’s severe. Not everyone can hide an unhealthy mental state. There are a staggering number, though, who cannot only hide it, but can hide it Very well. I guarantee, you know someone who deals, and you have no idea that they do. You would be Shocked if they revealed themselves!
I’m Not saying you should start handing out psychotherapy pamphlets and staging interventions to anyone who appears outgoing, or tells a funny joke. That would get Weird, fast. What I am saying, though, is have more than just the easy, safe, Superficial conversations with your family and friends who aren’t always forthcoming. I too deal with managing depression, but not many people know.
Keeping it light and Finding the humor has always been my safe haven, so I don’t wear it on my sleeve, but it’s there. When I say, “my children save my life everyday”, I’m not being poetic; It’s not just a cheesy expression for my bio. I say it because there are days, weeks, even years that I wouldn’t have gotten out of bed if it were not for their Needing something; every damn minute of the day! It’s relentless really. I joke, but I am so grateful for them because even on my worst days they keep me afloat. Not everyone has that one thing that always pulls them, through, and that’s why you check in.
If you do find yourself shocked by a reveal, be kind. It’s Not fake when they’re joyful and socializing. Don’t be offended when you find out someone’s private life, doesn’t match their public smile. It has Nothing to do with you and they’re not necessarily being phony. They may be authentic when they engage. It’s just authentically accompanied by an Imbalance that draws them away from their own personality, so they only engage occasionally. It’s not Safe to expose yourself. The world can be harsh, and unforgiving. -Several someones reading along, went all Wolverine, flexing their claws, the moment they read the title. Don’t worry, they’re not still with us at this point. They didn’t read very far in before they headed to the comment section, to Unload their judgment.– It’s no wonder people stay quiet. On the other hand, a mama may not even be fully aware that she’s handling anything unusual. Trust me, life carrying a 50lb backpack feels Normal until you set it down. I’ve never thought about self-harm, so I reasoned, “I might have depressive tendencies, but everyone struggles the way I do.” Turns out, A lot of people don’t. If someone’s dealing with depression and isn’t wide open about it, it’s not an insult, nor is it personal.
Not only is depression taboo, but our culture has a disillusioned view of what it looks like as well. I’m here to say, “Challenge that”. Step outside of the paradigm, that media and fear condition, and try to see people. Most of us don’t Really see anyone. Pay attention and you might catch a glimpse in their eyes or sense the actual energy behind their presentation. You might not, but you won’t know unless you try.
The holiday season can be Especially tough for some. If these words help even one person who’s blues are overwhelming them, it’s worth taking a little time out from all of my entertainingly beautiful Mess. I love writing pieces infused with cheeky humor, but I am also very passionate about the fact that we’re all just here to connect and love one another through the journey of life, and Lend a hand when we see someone stumbling. Be sure to Check in with someone, before years end!