1. We are very aware of how things affect us.
Whether it’s drugs or alcohol, food or exercise I’m very aware and cautious of how things affect me and an impact it might have.
When moments of depression hit me, I look at my habits and things I’ve done or haven’t and can connect ‘this is what led to me feeling this way.’
When I’m not feeling good about myself and I miss a workout and go to bed at 6:00, I know that’s going to affect me emotionally. When I eat unhealthy and look in the mirror I know I won’t be happy with what I see.
Being very aware and taking ownership of it is so important. And sometimes it’s not fair that other people can go out drinking and I say I’m busy because I know at least at that moment, alcohol will affect me differently than it does my friends.
2. I express myself non-verbally.
I have a really tough time saying how I’m feeling because half the time I’m trying to figure it out myself. Instead, outlets I resort to is blogging, quotes, music, and writing. Sometimes the clear way for me to say something is when I don’t say it at all. Instead, I ask you, listen to this song or watch this movie. And what I’m saying is, this is saying everything I can’t.
3. I appear very upbeat and positive.
Having concealed depression doesn’t mean I’m antisocial and sitting in a dark room all the time. I have friends and go out. I’m very careful of the things I say out loud and the type of energy I bring into a room. Sometimes it’s fake. Sometimes I feel like complete shit but I will never project that onto someone.
If I can be positive and upbeat and helping someone else, that helps me.
4. I have a great level of empathy.
When you don’t talk much you learn to watch very closely of the things around you. People’s tone. People’s facial expressions. I can tell how someone is feeling even without words. And when someone goes through something, maybe I didn’t go through it also, but I feel your pain. And maybe you don’t want to talk about it or explain it to me but for reasons, I don’t understand I feel things through others sometimes and that connects me to them.
5. I constantly seek validation.
Depression has a way of dragging me down and dragging down my confidence in myself. And there are moments I look for confident boosters and within others. I don’t have the ability to see myself the way others do, I see the negativity, the darkness, the night’s I’m crying alone thinking I have no friends. Sometimes people tell me, ‘I wish you saw yourself the way I do,’ I wish I did too. I wish this other half of me didn’t exist.
But there are moments I appreciate it because I wouldn’t be who I am without both halves that make me whole.
6. I listen very closely to music.
Songs and lyrics that somehow explain what I’m feeling when I can’t clearly articulate it are everything. I’ll always be someone who analyzes music based on the words because that’s so important.
7. My sleeping habits are so abnormal.
I’m either awake until 3 AM then wake up exhausted or sleeping for 16 hours. And to get myself to sleep takes a lot. At one time in my life, I was taking NiteQuil and Benadryl together just to knock me out so I could sleep, now I just take Melatonin.
Sleeping isn’t easy when your mind is constantly racing, but you learn to live with it.
8. My eating habits aren’t normal either.
Some days I don’t eat. Some days I don’t even realize I haven’t eaten. Other days I eat unhealthy if I’m emotionally dealing with something. Then some days I eat so healthy I can see weight loss overnight. Getting a grasp on eating properly isn’t easy. It’s something that people don’t see and something that doesn’t have to be perfect in my life. But I’m working on it.
9. I’m a perfectionist.
For as long as I can remember I’ve strived for good grades. I was busting my ass practicing my violin because I needed to be the best. I worked overtime and outworked everyone because I cared about being number 1. A bad grade could leave me in uncontrollable tears. I’d write down every mistake I’d make, because it was important not to make them again.
While I’ve improved, I still sometimes try to live up to a standard that’s very unrealistic.
10. I fear people leaving.
I fall apart when someone leaves or a relationship doesn’t play out as I was anticipating. Maybe that has more to do with anxiety. But I see my mood change significantly when someone leaves.
I don’t know if I’ll ever be graceful when it comes to people leaving, but I have a bad habit of looking at the past longer than I should.
11. I project the happy parts of my life across social media for people to see.
You look at my Facebook and you see this life I’ve painted for myself for others to see. And I don’t think I’m doing it to lie or be fake, I just think I do like capturing good moments. It gives me something to look back at when I’m having a bad night.
A lot of people roll their eyes when I take too many pictures. But those pictures and capturing moments with people I care for, matter.
12. I have moments where I’m completely in my own world.
When I think too much or analyze things sometimes I go off to my own place and maybe physically I might be somewhere, but mentally and emotionally I’m not.
Learning to live in the moment is a constant challenge.
13. I have friends, but few who really know me.
I throw parties and I’m social and I talk to a lot of people. But when I think of my close friends it’s like two individuals. The ones I talk to and see often and make me as big a part of their lives as they are mine. These are the people who have seen me at my worst and have chosen to stay.
The people who teach me even at my worst, I’m not as bad as I think I am.
14. I don’t cringe talking about suicide.
I get it. I understand what it’s like to get to that point emotionally where you’re exhausted and just want to stop feeling pain. I advocate for this cause so strongly because I know with one right conversation I can be the light in someone’s life when they feel defeated. And that’s what motivates me.
15. I value people who are like me and understand.
I don’t do well with small talk, useless conversations, and drama. I live for the emotionally deep conversations where you tell me the things you care about, you tell me the things you fear, when it’s 3 AM tell me where your head is at and what’s keeping you up. Tell me what hurt you. And tell me why it still hurts.
I’m emotional, heavy, and deep, and I struggle in relating to peoples repress emotions. But I love when I meet someone who gets it. Someone who understands me in ways I haven’t even figured myself out.
16. I’ll always be there for other, yet I pull away when I need help.
I won’t call someone when I’m crying alone in my apartment. And I don’t want to ever be a burden to people I care for. I don’t want someone to pull away because every time I talked to them, I was venting to them and being negative. I don’t want people to ever associate me with depression, but rather how I overcame it or how I was someone who helped them during a tough time. A lot of the negative emotions I keep to myself. But if someone were to turn to me, I’d be there in a second.
17. I’m driven.
Sometimes 3 AM hits and I accomplish more in odd hours than I do between 9-5. Sometimes dark moments bring me to my knees and other times those moments make me want to do something great. I take the good with the bad.
18. I hardly ever cry in public.
Unless I’ve had too much to drink, I can count the number of times I’ve cried in public in the past two years on one hand. I’m very good at hiding the negative emotions I feel and I don’t want to ever share that with someone. I’ll share in their moments of sadness, grief, or heartbreak, but I don’t ever want to be the person who people don’t want to be around because I’m sad or negative.
I think despite depression the choice I make is not letting it define me. I think concealed depression comes with it resilience and ability to fight back. It’s not about hiding who you are, it’s about accepting it and learning to thrive in moments when you might be your own worst enemy. It’s about learning how to get back up every time you fall.