You see, there’s something you don’t understand about me. I don’t even understand it, if I’m being honest. But I’ve struggled with severe depression and anxiety most of my life. It is all I have ever known and it has been branded onto my identity. So is internally suppressing and fleeing from everything I think and feel. I bury the truth so far down in an attempt to shield who I really am from everyone, especially myself.
There is no truth in me — I wonder if you see that. I lie to myself, to you, to everyone just by getting out of bed or opening my mouth to speak. Everything, all of me, is tarnished by lies in one way or another, and I couldn’t even begin to extricate the lies from the truth for you, even if I wanted to. The best way to sell a lie is to wrap it up and surround it with the truth. There are so many layers to me, I could not tell you which was which. Even the exterior facade could either be truth or lie, or some combination of the two. I really don’t know. But I do know that my anxiety is ten times worse than yours every day. My depression is beyond crippling. My mind is so dark I could be a Sith Lord.
And here I am with the pseudo-strong presence, being that support for you, encouraging you, keeping you going in your own mental struggles that I am so ill-equipped to handle. I don’t get to fall apart like you do because you can’t pretend to be strong like I can. You were merely thrown into the darkness. I was born into it — molded by it. I even get to wear a mask now to feel more a part of it. Bane references aside, I’ve come to resent you for it. How are you able to so easily fall into a depressive episode, allow it to completely derail your day and shirk all your obligations while expecting me to stay strong and help you through it, but when it comes my turn to let my facade slip just a little to allow you to see my own depressed mood, you fall into another episode, allow it to completely derail your day, and you neglect your obligations?
Because when you struggle, you need me to get you through. But when it’s my turn to need you, instead of throwing me the rope to help me climb out of this pit, you just jump into it with me so we are both trapped, and I end up being forced to carry you out of it. I really just don’t think you understand how irreversibly broken I truly am, and I doubt you ever will. It is easy for me to act like a Christian. Show people respect. Be a good employee. Display integrity and honor. That’s how I grew up and I know all the right moves. But none of that defines me like the shroud around my mind does.
You’d be terrified if you could look inside my mind. Hell, I’m terrified. If you were somehow able to play “Guess the Person” by rummaging through my anonymous thoughts, I doubt you’d win. I’d likely be labeled a sycophantic psycopath. But the thought of shedding it all, overcoming it, and truly being someone worthwhile just…. sickens me. I can’t explain it. I can’t fathom the idea of letting go of the depressed bundle of anxiety I have become. Like a bird letting go of its wings, my sickness is a part of me, and I don’t know how to live apart from it. I’ve been running for so long, that stopping to change direction seems so wrong to me. I’ve already given up my life as forfeit, and to reverse it into a meaningful existence sounds like a wasted endeavor to me, and I just cannot give myself to it. My woes bring me comfort in a strange Stockholm Syndrome sort of way, and I am content enough in my discontent.
I just can’t imagine a world in which my identity is any different. And my imagination is quite…. grand.