Not taking myself too overly serious is something I am also taking pride in. I enjoy being a total goofball and being adorKable. Just like the moment I took this photo – it was cold in my room, although I had the heater running, so I wrapped myself in my shiny TORONTO BLUE JAYS hooded blanket. Which is actually a children’s blanket I had found on eBay some months ago. I have a thing for mascots of sports teams, had some cash in my PayPal, and who says that one’s not allowed to have some shits and giggles along the way?
And because I am like that, facing my Inner Demons (yes, we capitalize them here) with a pretty twisted, dark, morbid sense of humor, some might wonder – but are you like, REALLY depressed?
“You don’t look depressed!”
Yeah, well, neither did Robin Williams or Chester Bennington or any other person who committed suicide and who were in the spotlight. Or those away from it, the “regular” people.
Being depressed doesn’t always equal darkened rooms, pills (to overdose), suicide notes, oceans of tears, and all those other fancy clichés that surround a mental illness. Yes, of course there are days, weeks even, where I completely withdraw from society (unless I have to, aka grocery shopping etc) and just want to be left alone. Days when rolling out of bed to get dressed and, later, preparing a meal, are the biggest activity of the day. Days when my energy levels are entirely depleted and I need time for myself. In my Comfort Zone.
But being depressed also means to put myself out there when I can. At least in my case. Be it attending a concert or a sports event because Happy!Place. Seeing my favorite bands live pulls me out of those dark places time and again. Although I haven’t been to any gigs lately, I do have a faint hope that things will get better this year … My body and soul, my entire WELL BEING are craving for a bit of a gig or some kind of adventure again. It’s been too long. *sigh*
Before I broke down back in 2010, being depressed also meant to still show up at work and perform at the highest possible level, completely putting my own needs behind me, ignoring them, and competing in the rat race. Until it was almost too late. Wearing the mask that allowed me to appear a-okay on the outside while the hurricane inside me was running riot became a second profession. Hiding my true feelings out of fear to be shamed into silence (again). Hiding the tears that were welling up in my eyes for the time being until I was back home and could let finally go. A constant uphill struggle, blood, sweat and tears included – literally.
“But you are too young to feel burnt out!”
Another one of those clichés that are one thing – totally wrong. I remember a phone call with my Aunt some time in the early 2000s, when I had a MONSTER of a semester at uni, almost put way too much on my plate. I dared mention I “kinda feel burnt out”. The above quote was the response.
Burn outs were already common in school children then because of the workload they had to deal with at that time. The pressure to perform at highest levels, getting all those A’s, studying, extra activities, sporty hobbies combined with competitions, and all that. The aforementioned rat race starts early on. Unfortunately. Our society is all about success, success, success. And did I mention …success? There’s barely any room for failure, and if you do fail, try harder next time. Work harder. Less play, more work …ad infinitum. Now tell me again how one can be “too young” for a burn out?
And now that I am back from the rehab I had talked about in a previous entry, I can confirm: at some point in my life, there very likely WAS a burn out. It just went kinda undetected and therefore also untreated. It might have also had its part in my breakdown, but it sure was foreshadowing the fatigue I have been dealing with since 2017. It all makes sense now.
Being the dork, the clown, the entertainer is just one of my coping mechanisms. Sarcasm is another one. It’s my way to deal with all the shit that life has thrown at me. If I DIDN’T have this particular sense of humor, the ability to still crack a joke even when things are bleak as fuck, I honestly have my doubts that I’d still be functioning beyond doing simple things such as getting up whatsoever.
So next time you say something along the lines of “But you don’t LOOK depressed!” ask yourself first how you’d react if someone said that to you. Put yourself in their shoes. Just because we DO go out, we flash a smile every now and than, crack sarcastic, morbid jokes or find something to enjoy ourselves with, it doesn’t mean that it makes it impossible to suffer from depression. There is so much more to that or any other mental illness than just crying, sadness for months on end, dark rooms and all that. Just because there’s the occasional hilarity, fun and shenanigans, it doesn’t make the diagnosis invalid.
My two cents.