Today I want to talk about the poem I posted on Monday ‘Mask’. I remember very clearly a period of time, when I was deep in my depression, that I did not know who I was. I knew my name, my age, where I lived, where I was born, etc, etc, but I didn’t know my identity. I did not know who was I all about, behind the mother, the daughter, the sister, the bread winner, I felt absolutely at loss amidst all those personas I had been showing to the world. I was supposed to be a strong, independent woman, self-confident and afraid of nothing, but behind that mask, I felt like a very scared and vulnerable little girl who craved nothing but to be cared for.
I remember people that knew me for a long time, being surprised with the fact that I was suffering from depression because I was antonymous of depression – my sister said once that I would be the last person she’d expected to see with depression because I was always so confident and upbeat. That was the problem, I never allowed myself to feel sad, scared or disappointed; in face of difficulties I would just pull myself together and move on. But sometimes we need to live through the disappointment and feel the grief, the pain, cry and ask for help. I didn’t do that for most of my life and it made me ill. And the realisation that I had used a mask of ‘everything is alright and if it isn’t I don’t care’ for too long made me feel like a farce; I did care, in fact, deep down I cared too much. I broke down when it became impossible for me to pretend and it took me a while to find myself, to find who I really was; not before the depression but who I was behind the mask that I wore all my life.
I think that one of the most valuable lessons I have learnt with depression and during therapy was that it is ok to be vulnerable and it is ok not to be ok. Pretending to be ok, when you’re not is long life habit of mine and I have to admit that I still do it from time to time, I just can’t help it. However, now I can recognise when I’m doing it and take a step back – without judgement – and that makes all the difference.
Thanks for reading and be kind to yourself!