I don’t ‘look’ like I have depression and anxiety.
I get out of bed, I shower, I put make up on. Keep my house tidy and clean (ish). I leave the house. I can act silly, dance under flashing lights, go out with friends. Talk to strangers. Get animated over my latest binge-watching obsession. Those photos of me on social media looking happy aren’t lies.
I do smile, I do laugh.
I don’t look how you’re ‘supposed’ to when you have depression or anxiety. And I have had people say this to my face. With that underlying tone of disbelief. Like I am lying. Because I don’t lay there in my bed all day crying and not eating. Well at least not every day. There are no hyperventilating panic attacks. It looks like I have my shit together. I don’t sit there with my head in my hands.
I look like you.
But look closer.
See that twitch of the fingers, the flicking backwards and forwards as I am trying to calm the mounting panic inside.
Notice how I vanish out the room or keep going to the toilet because I need to escape the noise of the people around me. Or because I have listened to the voice inside saying that I don’t belong. That no one will notice whether I am there or not. That no one really likes me.
Remember those times when I have cancelled or changed plans. When I vanish quietly from social media or don’t reply to messages.
See that tiny shudder of the head as I am trying to break free from the very physical feeling of the walls closing in around me.
So imagine what goes on behind closed doors. Underneath the mask I wear every single day.
Mental health issues come in all shapes and sizes. It is not a one-size fits all. We are all unique so why would our mental health difficulties be any different. Don’t let the stereotypes blind you. Look beyond. Notice what is actually right there in front of you.