The mask I wear every day, looking like I am fine, has slipped recently. Yesterday it just slipped off almost completely. Spent half hour crying in the bathroom trying to pull it together. Then in the night I managed to get maybe an hour of sleep. I did a lot of thinking during the night and I have to say not a lot of it was what you would call good. At the end of it though, feeling tired and drained I came to the conclusion that something has to change.
Maybe I shouldn’t force myself to wear a mask pretending to the world everything is fine?
When I thought about why I donned this mask each and every day I began to realise more and more that it was an attempt to protect myself from the judgement I assumed everyone would make about me. Something like “Oh look he says he is depressed and has anxiety. I bet he is faking it” or “Just cheer up.” I also constantly worry that once people see my off days and/or know about my condition that I’ll be treated differently. Almost like glass. Treated as incompetent and judging my every decision and action.
Then I thought, so what? I always do everything to the best of my abilities and when I run into something I don’t know or don’t quite understand, I strive to learn it (happens a lot in the world of software development. That is one of the reasons why I love it.)
I guarantee that there are many people around you who are suffering and struggling internally each and every day but have the outside air of confidence and happiness. I say it is time to speak up. You are all stronger than you know. You are not alone. Sometimes that strength wains as mine has and it seems like the dark clouds are never going to part but they do. It doesn’t seem like it at the time but it does.
Sometimes you have to step back from it all and reflect.
Thank each and every one of you who have reached out to lend a friendly ear or comment. Reached out to support me. I thank you and it has helped me more than I can express. Most of all I’d like to thank my wife. She is my rock. I try to keep everything together and to myself as I think that she has enough to cope with and doesn’t need my issues too.
I’m ready to stand back up.