When you have a mental illness, it is difficult to tell others when you are suffering. It is incredibly nerve-wracking, as you never know what reaction you are going to get. With depression, not everyone understands that on the outside you might look okay, but on the inside it’s a sad, sad place.
Sometimes, I can’t get the words out of my mouth. I suffer in silence. I escape from reality and want nothing to do with the world. I do everything in my power to avoid people – I don’t get up, answer the phone, or interact with people. I barely eat, sleep, or talk. And listening to someone? That takes too much effort.
Since entering college, I have had to tell many professors when my depression spikes so they know I am not just cutting class. I hate each and every time I have to do it. In my head I imagine all the responses I could possibly receive, and my stress level skyrockets. It makes me want to curl up in a ball and hide, which is the opposite of what I need.
The worst part of the cycle is the feelings of inadequacy, of weakness for not being able to handle emotions. Then I feel worse for falling into that trap (again) and I feel like a piece of garbage. I fall deeper into the depression the more it goes on.
Wednesday I hid. I did not go to class. I avoided as much as I could Thursday and Friday. I lay in bed all weekend, until my husband came home from work and made me get up.
Today I had to make the decision of going to class or not. I did not want to, but there was still something that forced me to go and attempt to listen for two hours. I was nowhere near 100%, but trying to be. And you know what happened? Even though I had to leave halfway through it for a break, I was still able to pay attention.
And telling my professor why I missed class? It was not the horrible nightmare I envisioned. I do not know if he could sense how uncomfortable I was or if he just saw the sadness in my eyes, but he was beyond kind in his response. So kind in fact, I cried.
Not because I was sad, but because I knew he was one of the few who understood.