I’ve just read this great blog entry from the Project Helping Founder and CEO. Everything he wrote in it was so familiar it was absolutely scary.
Here is the blog post. I encourage you to read it:
Running From Myself
The premise of the blog post is the constant battle he had between his “Happy” self and his Real self. It got me thinking about my “Happy” self and my Real self.
Most people with Depression have 2 selves… The fake one, or “Happy” one, we put on for others to hide or Real self, the one that constantly suffers with mental and physical pain. Ask anyone who has suffered from Depression and most likely they will agree to the constant battle.
Now, why do we put on the fake happy face?
Many reasons. Stigma. Hiding. Confusion. You name it, there is a good reason. I would imagine the stigma behind mental illness is a biggie. There are still so many people who fear the reactions of their friends and family that they put on a “happy” face. I know several of these people who have privately confided in me. I am glad they did tell me, I am glad that by me coming forward I am helping those in silence.
For me it was definitely the stigma in the beginning. I was a teenager after all. I was being judged on a daily basis for so many other things why add mental illness as ammunition?!
As the years passed, I still hid myself behind the stigma for fear of losing friends, employment, etc. It wasn’t until after suffering from Postpartum Depression that I broke the mask I was hiding behind and became an advocate of breaking the stigma. After this, my real self stayed hidden due to confusion on why I was suffering and the internalizing of my feelings I didn’t feel others needed to see.
The problem with having these 2 selves is the battle, like a real war, is massively draining in all areas. Because of this duel between my Real self and my “Happy” self, I usually end up erupting with full blown crying fits, anxiety attacks and a body ache that my mind produced.
They call Depression a hidden disease for a reason. You can’t look out in the public and pinpoint someone suffering but they are there, more than you’d like to guess. Just realize underneath someone’s smile, their “Happy” face, could be a person who is inwardly suffering, inwardly at war with themselves.
I encourage any of my readers to talk with someone if they are hiding the battle. Take the next step and get help.