When we see someone who is depressed or with anxiety, we think of someone who is always crying, unkempt appearance, or unable to function. That isn't me.
I was diagnosed with depression as an adult, but I've had it all my life, although no one would have guessed.
Depression was not talked about. If you said you were feeling down, someone would tell you to go do something else and you'd feel better. Seeing a shrink was tantamount to being crazy. I once saw a counselor in high school because my parents thought I was crazy to want to see my boyfriend even though they didn't want me to. Yet, I appeared to be normal. In high school, I was a straight A student, had many friends, and appeared to be outgoing and happy. But I was hiding a big secret.
This article is what prompted me to share my own insights with you today. You can check it out here: http://themighty.com/2016/05/high-functioning-depression-we-cant-overlook-the-overachievers/
Labeled as gifted in middle school, school was easy. Academics never bothered me but relationships stunk. I worried a great deal about what others thought and had a negative self image, no matter how good I was at something. As the oldest of five girls, my mom said I was like the little mom, always worried about everyone else and had an old soul.
Everyone who saw me, only saw what I wanted people to see. Even my own family never saw it.
I was cutting and hurting myself because physical pain was easier to deal with than the emotional pain. When things were really bad, I would pop whatever pills I could find and go sleep things off. Big events or problems would result in the downward spiral where I would end up wishing that I was dead. Stress, especially regarding relationships was a trigger.
Finally, I was diagnosed by my family doctor after the death of my grandmother. It had been one thing after another...her death, a health scare, a messy marriage. The medicine helped. The cutting stopped. The need for the physical pain stopped.
Over the years, the meds have changed and I've seen a counselor when the rough patches hit but still no one who knows me, has seen the "real" me (except for my husband).
My new meds don't have the highs that I used to have but that also helps with the lows. Yet, I get the added stress of "you don't smile enough" or "you don't seem happy". Let's add to the stress, okay, people?? I want to say, at least I'm able to smile and handle the stress.
I don't fit the mold of what a person with mental illness looks like. But I am.