Editor’s note: If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.
If you’re struggling with depression, it can be easy to feel like your struggle is less valid when you look “fine.” But the truth is, depression presents itself differently for everyone, and even though you may seem to “have it all together,” doesn’t mean you’re not still struggling.
Because when you’re constantly playing the role of “fine,” or trying to hide your symptoms, it can be easy to feel isolated and it may be harder to ask for help when you need it.
Here is what they had to say:
1. “I make plans because I want to socialize, but I wind up canceling at the last minute because I can’t deal with being around people.” — Jennifer G.
2. “Screwing up my sleep schedule. I didn’t do anything physically to make it so that I sleep 10 hours a day, I just… need to. [My] brain says sleep because sleep passes the time faster. Sleep doesn’t hurt me mentally or physically. Sleep doesn’t make me feel like I’m a burden when I’m doing it.” — Brandi P.
3. “People don’t know it, but sometimes my mind gets so messy when I go places that I constantly think about my death; if a car could just run that red light and hit my driver side, I’d feel so much better. But it never does, and I’m disappointed every time.” — Blake C.
4. “Being very talkative and making jokes. Other people who don’t know me well will consider me as outgoing, relaxed and fun, when in reality I am just trying to hide behind a wall.” — Linda Z.
5. “Not verbally engaging in conversations or social interactions because I don’t have the energy. And then blaming it on ‘just being tired or stressed’ so others don’t get offended and I don’t come off as ‘awkward.’” — Paige A.
6. “I binge watch shows on Netflix. Completely immerse myself in it so that I don’t have to deal with life or my thoughts. People think I just really like TV.” — Shaylynn R.
7. “I actively ask [others] about problems in their lives and steer conversations away from myself. It’s easier to address other people’s problems than it is to face my own.” — Harmon T.
8. “Not taking my meds for a few days so I can sink in deeper so I don’t have to function. Plus staying up all night and sleeping during the day so I don’t have to deal.” — Jessica T.
9. “I probably steer the conversation toward an issue I am dealing with so we can talk about ‘it’ and I can get advice.” — Annemarie E.
10. “My mood is shared through music lyrics I post on social media. My friends think it’s just a catchy song — I relate to the lyrics” — Stuart L.
11. “I make subtle cries for help — my jokes are darker and darker. I also stay extremely busy to avoid my own thoughts and feelings. And I cover up everything else with excuses once people start to notice.” — Katherine W.
12. “I critique myself every single day, all day. I constantly second guess my decisions and still never think I’m making the right one.” — Emily P.
13. “Not looking people in the eye when speaking. I feel so much lower than them and I don’t want them to figure that out and use it against me.” — Toni M.
14. “The thoughts in my head are on repeat. I loathe myself and I feel utterly miserable. I go home and sleep most of the hours I’m not at work. I want to hurt myself. I want to change, but I simply don’t know how. My self-care and household are put on hold. I keep canceling plans despite truly wanting to follow through, but when the time comes, I just can’t. I am hurting physically, not just mentally.” — Lynette M.
15. “I can lay awake or sometimes cry all night. The days I do get up, I make myself look nice and do something bold in community advocacy. But that’s only some days. Other days when they don’t see me, I might lay in bed all day. People think my education, service and personality is equivalent to what they imagine is ‘stability’ or ‘success.’ [The] truth is, everything has been falling apart for over a year now and I’m basically homeless and hungry.” — Phoenix J.
16. “I’m a teacher, but I will never eat lunch in the staff room with my colleagues. I need that time to recharge for the remainder of the day.” — Francis T.
17. “I make lots of plans to meet up with friends. Then at last minute, I always have something else to do or get a headache (I usually do have a headache because I have wound myself up about it), then the morning after I wish I had gone.” — Ross R.
18. “Isolating myself, both physically and on social media. It’s just too hard to deal with any sort of interaction when depression has the upper hand. Unfortunately, those are also usually the times I need it most.” — Selena W.
19. “That even on good days, my suicidal thoughts haunt me. They may not be as daunting some days, but they are always there.” — Katrine S.
20. “I’m usually late for work. I blame it on traffic, but a lot of times it’s because I really don’t want to get out of bed because it feels like depression is pinning me down.” — Kristel L.
21. “[I] forget to eat or drink enough water. Just lose complete track of time. And suddenly it’s dinner time and I’ve barely had breakfast of lunch.” — Olga M.
22. “I immerse myself in fictional worlds; I read a lot, I play video games, I watch plot-heavy TV shows. The less time I spend in my own reality, the better.” — Jessica C.
23. “I invite my friends and family for dinner and cook for them. Nobody could tell that I am depressed at that moment.” — Nur M.
24. “My posture is terrible due to depression. When I was younger, my father would mock me and criticize me for my posture. But I was also a depressed child. I always seem to walk with my head down too.” — Khai-lin K.
25. “I hide behind a rigidly controlled mask. I don’t maintain contact with anyone that isn’t directly involved in my life. I use my room as a shell against people when I can’t deal. I don’t talk on the phone because I can’t hide my crying voice, so I text.” — Bess C.
26. “Staying up extremely late to keep myself busy with everything I can, even if I’m tired as hell, because being alone at night with so many thoughts and concerns keeps me awake anyway, as well as nightmares. Not being able to just sit there and watch a movie so quietly as I used to when I was much younger because I need to keep myself busy with something else.” — Denise J.
27. “Snapping at people. Usually I force myself to go to work and social events even though I can barely function. Then I end up breaking down or snapping at people because it seems too overwhelming. People just think I’m in a bad mood and I just lie and say I’m really tired.” — Jackie S.
28. “I get very needy and angry. I need to cuddle, but get mad when someone touches me. I need something to be cleaned, then get mad when they don’t do it right away. I need to talk about how I’m feeling, but get very angry when someone brings it up. I’m deflecting my anger from myself on everyone else.” — Trista L.
29. “I keep touching my hair or adjusting my clothes in public. I struggle to maintain eye contact with people and I bite my nails all the time. I cancel a lot of plans and I make loads of excuses!” — Duane V.
30. “I’m engrossed in mobile games, especially fantasy RPG. That was the coping mechanism I used when my depression was at it’s worst and now it’s just a consuming habit.” — Carolyn M.
31. “Maladaptive daydreaming. I get so caught up in extremely dark fantasies that I can’t escape from, and the worse I feel, the worse they get until it results in a panic attack.” — Emma-Jean C.
32. “Focusing on anything but people. It’s easy to say I was ‘focusing on my work’ or just ‘really engaged in that TV show’ or whatever when I don’t feel like socially interacting. It’s better than dragging the rest of the group down by telling them that I feel bad and there’s not much they can do about it.” — Stephanie M.