Friday, May 22, 2009

Talking to Friends and Family about being Depressed

I was talking with my sister yesterday and she was completely surprised when I said I was depressed. In fact her comment was you were fine when I saw you Wednesday. She said you were happy ... at which point I told her that when I left your house to go "shopping" I was really just crying in my car for two hours.

I have always had an amazing ability to "pull it together" for a few hours so that others don't know how I am feeling. My sister said that she doesn't understand why I would hide what's going on from her. And I guess the answer is that my pride gets in the way. I have long struggled with my "perfect" image. When I was pregnant I was at a conference and heard a speaker who was talking about being your authentic self. Something in her talk made me realize that I do not show my authentic self to pretty much anyone except my husband -- not even my closest friends.

And I'm not neccesarily talking about just telling people about being depressed or that I'm bipolar. Whatever the struggles I have -- I tell no one.

It goes beyond my illness. I would be horrified if someone arrived at my house and it wasn't clean. In fact, I wouldn't let them in because I wouldn't want someone to think I was messy. I guess I want others to think that I'm perfect. I'm happy, life is good, there are no problems here.

It's a tough act to pull off. Especially when I have days I can't get out of bed. This past week when my nanny asked if I was ok or sick or something ... I made up some excuse about a bad period and headaches ... when the truth is she noticed I haven't been working when she is here I have instead been staying in my bedroom ... staring at the wall and hoping that I can gather up enough energy to be mom once she leaves.

Does anyone else do this? Pretend that everything is OK-- even to your loved ones.