I have hidden my anxiety and depression from everyone I know. I’ve always been the outgoing funny friend. The one that doesn’t get offended, the one with no filter and a steady stream of sarcasm that says “fuck” a lot. I’m not serious very often, so when I am, it’s not taken seriously. There are a couple of people that I have told I’m not doing great, that I’m having a tough time, that I feel alone, but I have never come out and say “I am fighting depression”. It’s been, “I’m fine, just struggling.” It’s easy to hide when communication is primarily via text and I don’t have to worry about my voice shaking or looking anyone in the eye. I’ve known for well over a year that it is so much more than “just struggling” but I’ve never said it out loud.
Okay, it wasn’t really out loud. It was a text. Which means there’s proof and I really can’t deny anything now. My friend J texted to see how I was doing and the next thing I know, I’m blurting out what I’ve been so scared to say. So scared to believe.
J: “There’s no polite way for me to say “K, we’ve never actually met but you sound down and I’m worried about you. Trust me, I’m good with words and I couldn’t find a path there.”
Me: “Honestly, it’s a legitimate worry. I have been fighting demons and serious depression. Nobody knows and to be honest, other than a tiny handful of people, I don’t even talk to anyone. Especially not about this.”
J: “I was afraid of that. I’ll as you now, are you ok? Obviously you don’t have to tell me a damn thing.”
Me: “No. I’m not. But I’ll get there. I have less of the horrible days and more of the okay days now. I try to force myself out of the house even when the thought of it makes me panic. It’s a lonely process.”
J: “Can I help.”… “You’re a married woman so I also don’t want to overstep any bounds of conversations which aren’t mine to ask.”
Me: “You already have. You checking in on occasion helps more than I can even explain. Funny, I started blogging recently because journaling has always helped me. Someday when I’m brave enough, I’ll share it. I specifically mentioned you in a post. I don’t use names – just first initials. You have always had this faith in me I don’t have in myself. That stays with me every day and I’m so grateful for it.”
J: “I wasn’t going to mention that you’re a bad-ass because I didn’t want to put pressure on you. But you’re a bad-ass.”
Me: “I appreciate it…even when I don’t believe it.”
J: “I’ll believe for both of us then when you can’t see it.”
And with that little exchange, I let someone else into my darkness which somehow allowed me to see a tiny bit of light.