Its taken me years to accept my own mental health. Even to this day, I have rarely spoken the truth out loud. In fact, I can count on one hand how many people I have straight out told that I have depressed:
For many years I was too embarrassed to tell anyone that I was feeling bad. It was surprisingly easy to hide in college, as many of my depressive tendencies were normalized in a university environment (or maybe everyone at art school is just depressed?)
I hit my lowest back in 2014 I was sitting in my bed eating Annie’s Mac’n’cheese straight from the pot, bob’s burgers endlessly looping in the background, thinking about how I should finally get my hair cut before my graduation ceremony.
I hadn’t showered in days. Weighed the most I ever had due to binge eating, I felt like the only person who cared about my existence was 6000km away. I felt so alone, so miserable.
We had just completed our thesis performance, all my friends had family there and they had subsequently all gone to dinner with them. I was alone fighting back tears, silently picking up discarded programs incase there were ones we could reuse ( we didn’t have a lot of them #nomoneyinthearts) and then I went home and ate mac’n’cheese.
Looking back I wish I had said some thing. Told my friends how I felt or asked my roommates for help ( not just for removing cockroaches or other bugs from my room)
A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine sent me a meme about how that friend of yours who is getting really into baking bread from scratch is super depressed. I laughed. It hit a little too close to home. While my new found love for baking had stemmed from a recent obsession with BA, that is who I was – a super depressed person making bread.
And whilst I laughed and reassured her it wasn’t true, I wonder why I didn’t tell her the truth. Why was I still embarrassed to admit that it was true?
I have always pretended like I was a private person that, that is the reason I don’t let people know what is really going on ( lol, I mean you are reading this, so that ship has sailed.)
Like I didn’t want people to know how I was feeling, harboring the secret fear that they wouldn’t care or worse that they would.
When in reality it was shame.
Not only shame of the way it was making me feel but shame for all the ways it held me back in life. All the things I was missing out on. That people would see it as a failure on my part.
I have grown up in a life of privilege with very little worries. With kind and liberal parents who supplied me with unconditional love and support. Growing up I never had a care in the world.
I felt shame ( and still feel shame) at the thought that I had been given so much and yet I had to invent a problem ( I know this is problematic, I can’t help feeling this way)
And despite all I have learned about mental health like it was still a fake excuse on my part, it wasn’t real.
I was recently seeing a guy, seemingly a match made in heaven. We had the same interests and humor, we both loved winter, he was good at picking out ripe avocados, I was not.
It was our third date, we were sitting in a smokey tiny bar in Neukölln and he was telling me about his mothers recent passing and how it affected him.
It was the perfect moment and yet.
He was an intelligent, caring human, and still, I couldn’t tell him, couldn’t breach the insane fear of being rejected or misunderstood for some thing that was such a huge part of me.
Depression has become so normalized, supposedly an entire generation is depressed af and wants to die. And as an abstract concept, it feels so easy to talk about. To make jokes about.
People for the first time openly talking about it, admitting to being it.
Shouldn’t it be easy to raise my hand and say oh hey, yeah same here!
I’ll admit to have written most of this in a fit on insomnia at 3 am three days into the new decade. As soon as I woke up my first instinct was to delete this all and never speak about it again.
I am reminded of the scene in the Mindy Project where Laverne Cox questions why Mindy speaks to her self in a way she would never talk to her best friend.
My best friend and I made the new years resolution back in 2018 to be kinder to our selves. To admit that we are trying our best and that despite all of our issues we are here, and potentially thriving (more like barely surviving but baby steps.)
Maybe this year I will finally stick to it.