I know a lot of people with mental health disorders bury it in the back of their closets, making sure that no one sees it. They create a fantastic facade, even if an hour earlier they were crying their eyes out because they couldn’t deal anymore. People smile, laugh with others, and try to not let anyone see their dirty little secret.
Then, if there’s alcohol at a party, most drink to get rid of that little nagging in the back of their brain trying to push itself out. It may get so bad that they literally forget… and in all honesty, it makes it worse.
Those are just a couple of reasons why I DON’T hide. I hid in college… I didn’t want to be known as my mental illness, I wanted to be the reliable one. At one point in my senior year, I honestly stopped going to classes, including my make-up class. I then had to say something. I got the chance to make up my missed work and got an A.
After college, I still hid. I didn’t want a label. I was still uncomfortable in my own skin that the facade I hid behind wasn’t to hard to keep up. By the end of college, I had successfully maneuvered through 4 years by the seat of my pants.
When I started working and moved out on my own, I kept feeling it harder and harder to hide. At least the social anxiety hadn’t began yet. I slowly started to talk to the really good friends I had… to let them know something was wrong. The simplest thing to say is that I had “Depression” then. I was too terrified to say anything else.
Then in 2009, I met a fantastic group of friends… and I didn’t hide. Why? Because I was tired of it. And I came to the realization that if I didn’t live the truth, I would never be able to bring it up later. Then, of course, there was the fear that I would become really close to someone, tell them, and have them walk away… leaving me crushed. I mean, I wouldn’t tell anyone of it the first time I met them, but once a good friendship starts, I was quite honest. No one thought differently of me, and for once I felt comfortable.
And then everything fell apart. Fact is, I still did hide a little part of my illness… the fact that I deal with psychosis. I think I only told 2-3 people. The doctors I saw, almost all of them, said my illness would get worse as time went by. I didn’t believe them, but March 2011 Social Anxiety came roaring into my life, when my boss came to me and asked me to get help for myself. She was worried, and I told her about the bipolar, and she said her best friend has it. Compassion from that point on.
In the later part of 2011, after I had been laid off, I started feeling strange bc I hadn’t had meds for a couple of months. I was definitely depressed, and one time one of my roommates drove me to the ER. In February 2012, the other roommate (and very close friend) told me that I needed to get help… soon. I’m not going into details, but I did, and then I got a job at a bank. By that point, I was already isolating myself. I wanted to hang out, but I was really mentally drained.
When I got a change in diagnoses, it seemed that I was something to be feared, rather than a person who needed help from her friends. I fell apart.
So… I don’t hide. As I said, I let people in because I don’t want to end up hurt when they find out and it changes our friendship. I like being open. If I have things bottled up, there is going to be an explosion. And lastly, as it was when I told some people my new diagnosis, I found out who was a true friend and who was just faking it. The knowledge of that proved to be one of the best things that could’ve happened to me.
So, if you ever cross my path and we start a new friendship, I can guarantee that I won’t hide.