Depression is a problem that takes most people by surprise. It certainly took me over a year to realize why I felt what I felt and why I always felt that way. Numb. I always felt numb. I still feel numb, all the time. I best describe it as an invisible, heavy weight that rests on your head, shrouding reality around you. It makes you lose all sense of time; it dilutes your emotions and feelings. It’s a defense mechanism.
At this moment, no one knows that I am plagued with depression. Honestly, I am not sure if I can even say I have it. I just know that it is a fitting description, a word that encompasses the odd murky feeling that I always have in its entirety. I felt its effects strongly most particularly when I started high school. Ever since I was a child, I suffered from severe social anxiety. I would never speak. I would be afraid to. I also have really bad self-esteem. My height. My appearance. My inability to talk to people that I wanted to be friends with. When I first started high school, I was separated in most classes from my only friends. I would sit in classes alone and silent. I was scared to talk to people. I was scared to ask for help. I was even scared to look people in the eye. All I could think of was how people saw me. And every day, for that whole year, I would sit alone without speaking. When class ended I would rush to the toilet, hiding within, until I was sure my friends were out of their classes. I became quite depressed. I was sad that I could not make my own friends while mine all had friends of their own. I was sad that I had a reputation in the grade for being the weird, quiet kid. I was sad that my friends were not aware. I was sad because when I tried to talk about how I felt, no one ever took me seriously.
How to cope with depression: Reach out and stay connected to supportive people. I tried. Of course I did. The sadness that transcends to numbness is absolutely unbearable. I remember telling my my best friend about how I felt. All my feelings of self-hatred and of course, I do not blame her, she responded awkwardly, reluctantly. She responded lightly. Soon she began responding with annoyance. When I expressed my feelings about her seemingly nonchalant responses, she responded defensively with “What am I supposed to say?”.
At first I was hurt. Extremely hurt. But I understood that to her, I was expelling negativity. I know that people hate hanging around people who are negative all the time. I have watched countless advice videos where YouTubers would literally tell you to cut off these people in your life. It breaks my heart because I can only imagine the amount of people who cannot control and wish to control the negativity that they emit, and are seeking consolation and love, only to be rejected by friends whom see them as burdens – but I understand where they are coming from. No one deserves to have a burden that is not theirs to carry. Everyone deserves to be free from negativity. So I stopped talking to my best friend about it. I stopped mentioning it. I acted like ‘myself’ again. I did not attempt to talk to anyone else after that, because if someone I cared about so much could respond so reluctantly, I did not want to know how anyone else would respond.
And I go through all the pain, alone, when I come home. I have also tried talking to my mother about it. She doesn’t understand. Sometimes she even uses the term ‘Oh, she has social anxiety’ to patronize me in front of others. Those feelings of sadness and hurt? They soon were replaced by numbness. And I cope. I learn to cope with it. But I wish others would help me. Understand me.
Perhaps this article will help reflect how others whom struggle with mental illnesses feel on a daily basis. Perhaps this article will help people whom suspect that their loved ones are hurting but are reluctant to express themselves to understand.
I wish one day someone I love will listen to all this pain, and not push me away.