I wrote this piece last year — I was at the peak of my depression and I thought I was alone. I confided in a few close friends and found out that many of my peers were also struggling (in silence) and I wanted, more than anything, to share this with you all, but I was ashamed.
Yesterday, my friend EricaJoy bravely tweeted about her own struggles and about the importance of loving yourself, which inspired me to share my story and I hope it’ll also inspire you to share yours.
I lead a seemingly open life, and by open I mean that I post a lot on social media and because of that, people think they know me, but few people actually know me.
If you follow me, you’ll see someone who doesn’t take herself too seriously, a blend of wit and sarcasm that some people find charming.
What you don’t see is a struggling single mother. Work/life balance doesn’t exist and I feel like a constant failure.
If you follow me, you’ll see a strong woman. A woman doesn’t take shit from anyone.
What you don’t see are the medications I take to manage the depression and anxiety.
If you follow me, you’ll see a woman who values connecting people and helping them grow.
What you don’t see is how I struggle to make meaningful connections of my own.
If you follow me, you’ll see someone who loves herself. The constant selfies prove it, right?
What you don’t see is how I pick myself apart in the mirror every-single-morning. My hips could be slimmer, my stomach could be flatter, oh for fuck sakes, why are my arms wiggling like that?
If you follow me, you’ll see someone who loves to write code and enables others to do the same.
What you don’t see is how terribly afraid I am of my own code, what if it’s bad? What if they laugh at me? What if they see how much I actually don’t know? Will I ever know enough?
If you follow me, you’ll see a woman who gives zero fucks about what people think.
What you don’t see are the nights I spend awake worrying about people’s perceptions of me.
If you follow me, you’ll see a woman who’s open and honest.
What you don’t see is that I’m lying to you and to myself.
Depression is real — It takes real effort to get out of bed every day and sometimes I don’t.
What you see on the outside is not a reflection of someone’s inside and in a world where your worth is measured by followers, retweets, and mentions, it’s easy to feel like you’re not enough. Comparing yourself to someone else is inevitable and outside validation feels like a necessity.
Being vulnerable is hard, admitting that you might not have your shit together can open you up to the judgement of others, and asking for help can sometimes feel impossible.
What if they pity me? What if they judge me? What if they think I’m weak? These are all questions I ask myself daily.
So you cope and hope that no one notices that you’re broken, never reaching your full potential because, “Failure is not an option” — which by the way, is the worst fucking saying ever because you learn/grow the most from overcoming failure.
So what now? The truth is that I don’t know and I’m done pretending like I do, but what I do know is that we’re all a little broken, that no one is perfect, and that it’s okay.
So, hello depression, I see you…