I wrote this for myself. I’ve tossed around the idea of sharing it . . . . but not until after the anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds and a couple more months of therapy have worked their magic. Then a notification popped up on my phone last night telling me that today is World Mental Health Day, so I’m taking a leap and posting it now. It’s not meant for anyone in particular . . . just the world in general.
I can’t tell you that the reason I haven’t returned your calls or responded to your messages is that just the idea of human interaction is overwhelming and exhausting. It is not a reflection on you or how much I care about you.
I can’t explain why some days I can go out and some days I can’t even get up. I take the good moments as they come. It’s not an indication of my feelings about you that you just happen to catch me on the bad days.
I can’t tell you that sometimes I spend more than half the day in bed because just opening my eyes is an acknowledgment of the world that I can’t handle.
I can’t tell you how hard it is to walk through my day smiling and pretending like everything is okay.
I can’t tell you that I’m not okay because I don’t know how to handle your reaction. It doesn’t matter what your reaction is. I am more worried about making you uncomfortable than getting help when things are bad.
I can’t tell you that I am terrified of being someone else’s joke, that I question everyone’s motives when they’re being nice to me. I can’t explain my paranoia.
I can’t tell you that the best part of my day is when I first wake up and I’m in that semi-conscious state because I’m still asleep enough to feel relaxed but awake enough to experience it. I don’t want to get out of bed because I want to savor that moment as long as possible. I try going back to sleep, even if only for 10 minutes, just to get another one of those moments.
I can’t tell you how uncomfortable it makes me when you compliment me. I still don’t know how to just say ‘thank you.’
I can’t tell you that I don’t share how I’m feeling because I don’t know how to handle the look of pity in your eyes. I don’t want nor have I ever wanted your pity.
I can’t tell you that I just need someone to listen, give me a hug, and tell me that it’s okay to feel how I feel, even when those feelings are ugly. I can’t handle you trying to make me better.
I can’t tell you that I don’t need you to fix me. I don’t need you to clean up my mess. I can’t tell you that because you always try, I’m no longer comfortable opening up.
I can’t tell you that I’m terrified of never being the person I want to be.
I can’t explain how I can be both incredibly confident and crushingly insecure all in the same moment.
I can’t explain how much I enjoy getting out, having fun, and spending time with friends . . . but that afterwards I need a period of recovery because those experiences, as wonderful as they are, drain me.
I can’t tell you how I fight through every single day and how no matter how much I want to give up, I keep pushing and moving forward.
I can’t tell you that I don’t want a pat on the back for fighting my battles . . . I just want acknowledgment that those battles exist.
I cannot make you understand what it’s like to live with anxiety and depression. I can’t make you realize that they’re as real as cancer and diabetes and broken bones. I can’t make you understand the difference between depression and laziness or between anxiety and rudeness. But if you really do want to help, this would be a great place to start.