I’ve struggled with depression. I worry about winter and it’s long dark cloudy days, and the isolation I sometimes feel when snow and ice make getting to my people dangerous. It was a miserable, cold and dreary winter day last time I seriously contemplated suicide. (I’m mostly okay now, it was years ago. You don’t need to worry.)
One of the things I used to dread, particularly on the worst days, was that incredibly normal question of How are you? Said in casual passing. Used as another way of saying hello.
I would often say I’m fine. Which was a lie, but a socially acceptable one. They were after all, really just saying hello and being polite. I was simply returning the favor. Being polite. Maintaining a mask of some kind of normality. Because I was convinced they wouldn’t want the honest answer. It was self-protective. Why take mere politeness as an opening to disturb someone with the fact you spent an hour on a bridge convincing yourself not to jump off? And there was perhaps a bit of self delusion there to. As long as I could keep the mask of normalcy on, I could pretend it was more then a mask.
That’s why, a while back, I decided I’d stop lying when I was asked that question. On a good day, and I have many of them, I’ll give the answer of fantastic, great, pretty good, or something along those lines. And when I’m not, when I would love to have an invitation to open up, that’s when I say been better been worse. Those that aren’t just being polite, who would be open to administering hug therapy and an emotional conversation, they’ll ask if I want or need to talk.
It’s such a little change, but I think it’s had a positive impact on my mental health. It’s one less thing I can hide behind.
If you’d like to read more about my mental health journey perhaps one of these would interest you?
What if Depression does define me?
I’m sure I’m not the only one whose seen the face-book posts, or other such things telling people you shouldn’t say I’m…
Why it matters that Van Gogh probably-maybe, quite possibly, didn’t kill himself.
I’m not an art history major, but I love Van Gogh, his painting starry night was one of the first times I looked at a…
Or perhaps you’d like a directory of all my works?