May 5-11 Is Canadian Mental Health Week
HIDING BEHIND MY SHADOW
I slip behind my shadow
To hide, to melt away,
No-one else can see me
Who cares its just that way.
I often feel the loneliness
That I carry around inside
The feelings are so vivid
I try so hard to hide.
My mind is filled with images
I try to see the good,
But I'm hiding behind my shadow
Because I am often mis-understood.
This is how I feel. I try to think of the positive, but depression often takes over. You go to work and try to hide the sadness you feel. You smile, and laugh, but you are just hiding how you really feel. Depression takes over.
I suffer from depression and I am not ashamed to say it. I was diagnosed with severe depression 8 years ago, but I know that I had it for many years before that. Now, again, I see the silent face of depression. The "gray area of life." It has come back to haunt me.
People who see you daily, your co-workers, friends, and sometimes even your family do not see the real you. I have learned how to hide it, I have learned little tricks so that no-one can see the torment I feel inside. People do not understand depression, it is a stigma, "stay away from her" she's depressed. She's a "nut case."
You see, depression has no face, you cannot really see it. It is an invisible illness for the most part and often masks its-self as something else.
Sometimes people can see the signs if they are looking for it. Your family, if they know you are depressed can often see it. There can be visible signs like staying in your bed, emotional signs, crying, screaming, but the other signs, the silent ones that you feel in your head, only you know what they are, only you can feel them, only you can see them, no-one else.
Often a person that you would never suspect of having a mental illness is the person who does. It is like hiding behind a mask, you do not want to take it off because if you do the real you would be seen.
People with depression often suffer alone, by themselves. Often you try to be strong, but deep inside your feelings are playing havoc, you feel that it is somehow your fault for what has happened in your life, that you yourself caused it. I struggle with this everyday, always thinking that somehow it is my fault no-one else's. I am to blame for how I feel. Day after day it is a struggle to survive, always thinking when or how will it ever end?
I am that someone who hides behind my shadow, hoping that I can erase the images and go on. But it is not easy. Easy to say but hard to do.
The stigma of mental illness is not the same as a person having another illness. People do not understand, they think it is all in your head, that you can just snap out of it and get on with your life. Well, I wish that were true, because if it was then I would not be talking about it right now. I would be able to get on with my life and leave it behind. I do not think it ever really goes away. It is a very scary illness for the person who has it and a very REAL illness. Maybe people are afraid of the word DEPRESSION, maybe that is why they do not really understand what we are going through or maybe they do not want to understand, but because of this stigma, the depressed person hides, and does not often seek medical help.
Seeking professional help often helps either by being given medication, or going to therapy. I have done both and am still taking medication and I am still in therapy. I have a wonderful therapist who is so understanding and has helped me so much.
I am not ashamed of who I am, I am just trying to deal with my emotions, my inner feelings, my inner self, trying to deal with the shadow that I hide behind. Hopefully someday, I hope to come out from behind that shadow and show the people around me that I am just an ordinary person, that I am someone who suffers from an illness, an illness called DEPRESSION..
If you know someone who is depressed comfort and support them, let them know that you are there for them, to help them in any way that you can. Do not fear them. Do no let them hide behind their shadow or mask, do not let them slip away, guide them along the way to seek the help they need. Help them to hold their head up high. Let them know that it is alright to have this illness called depression, that it is nothing to be ashamed of. I think that is one of the biggest reasons we hide, and only show our true self to people we know who are caring and understanding.
I will from time to time come back to this subject and let you know how I am doing. But for now I am still hiding behind my shadow.......