“If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” Roald Dahl
In the midst of my depression, I sometimes see waves of good thoughts and I sometimes see glimmers of hope. I admit that it is hard to see them as they appear blurry and out of focus to me. But, they are there. They aren’t in view as often as they should be but, nevertheless, they are still there.
Even since I was a child I was told that I had a beautiful smile and that sunlight always filtered out from my eyes and my smile. Right now, my smiles are, for the most part, fake. They still light up my face and people think that I am truly happy, but I have learned to put that facade up to protect myself from people seeing how much I truly am hurting inside. It works. I fool everyone. I even fool my husband and my boys.
I think that is why I am such a good liar and performer. I know when to fake it and when not to. That’s the problem with mental illness.
There is so much stigma and negativity towards people with mental illnesses that we feel as though we need to “fake it” to protect ourselves from prying eyes and from people who would only be condescending in thinking that they are really helping.
So many people try to keep their mental illness closeted because they feel like their peers would shame them or exclude them from activities or from the friendships that we desperately need in our lives.
I speak openly about my illnesses. I don’t care who knows about them. I got to the point where pretending to be normal was enough and not truly me.
Yes, I still plaster on that fake smile but those who know about my illnesses and care are not fooled by it. I do, as I stated above, often fool my family but that is because they are hopeful that maybe I am finally coming out of my darkness and also because they want to believe everything is alright. I know just when to smile so that they are blinded into thinking it is genuine.
For others, on the outside, it’s easy to fool them, but those who are true friends and who really care know better. Believe me, there are only a few. I can’t count them on one hand but even so, they can see right through it and care enough to ask me what is really wrong.
Since I’ve come out publicly about my illnesses, I’ve lost a lot of friends. I’ve lost friendships of twenty years. It’s hard and depressing when you think the person who cares the most doesn’t care at all. It surprises me at the amount of people who pretend to care just to be nosey or to use it against me. Those people don’t usually stay long in my life. I’ve come to be able to see them a mile away.
There are great concrete walls that I have built around myself for keeping those types of people out of my life. They stand right up on the outer wall and never get past it.
There are things that we with mental/chronic illnesses must do to keep only true caring friends in our close circle. Those who look in only see as much as you let them see. And usually that is enough to satisfy them; as they are seeing that fake smile that I wrote about earlier.
I don’t know who cares or is uncomfortable in my talking about my illnesses, and once again, I don’t really care. It is part of who I am and I will never censor myself to make someone else feel comfortable.
Now, back to those good thoughts. Like I said, they are few, but they are still there. Depression tries to fool me but I’m more aware than it thinks I am.
I do envision myself as happy. I envision it often. I think of all of the happy and positive things that I could have. I think of all of the fun and happy things that my life holds for me once I beat this depression.
I hope soon, the depression stops making me put on a fake smile and that hopefulness and steadfast determination will win this battle so that good thoughts will once again shine like sunbeams out of my face!
“Friends pick us up when we fall down and if they can’t pick us up, they lie down for awhile and listen.”
This is the positivity I am fighting for.