By Holly Riordan
I’m always tired. No matter how much sleep I get, I want more. I don’t want to leave the house. I don’t even want to leave my bed. I want to pull the covers up to my chin and sink into my pillow.
When people reach out to me — people that I want around me, people that I love more than life itself — I ignore them. I text them one-word answers. I turn down their offers to go out.
It’s not that I don’t want to see them. I do. I just don’t want to bother them. I don’t want to disappoint them.
I know that, when they text me to hang out, they expect to see someone with a wide smile and wild stories. Not someone that’s struggling.
I’m scared to let them see me, because I’m not sure which side of me will come out. The angry side that gets irritated over small things? The sad side that cries over nothingness? The whiny side that complains about every little aspect of life?
Or the okay side that fakes smiles until I actually feel okay for a few minutes?
I don’t want the people I love to see me at my lowest. I don’t want them to worry about me.
Whenever I’m around friends, I feel like I’m disappointing them, because I’m not laughing hard enough at their jokes. Because I’m being too quiet. Because I’m racking my brain for an excuse to leave early. Because I’m not being myself.
I don’t want them to take my sadness personally. I don’t want them to assume that I’m bored of them and that I’m not having a good time, because of them.
I would love to open up to them about how I’m feeling, to really let them inside, but that feels impossible. I don’t know the right words to say. I don’t know how to explain why I’m sad — because I’m sad about nothing and I’m sad about everything.
So I stay silent. I inadvertently make them feel like I don’t trust them. Like we aren’t close enough to share our emotions.
I realize that depression can make me look like a douchebag. Like I don’t care about anyone or anything. But, really, I just don’t care about me.
My depression convinces me I’m worthless, so when I ignore your texts or tell you I’m too busy to hang out, I don’t feel guilty, like I’m hurting someone I love.
I feel like I’m doing you a favor. Like I’m saving you from the horrors of having to be my friend.
I feel like I’m letting you off the hook. Like I’m giving you the excuse you’ve been looking for to leave my life for good, to forget I ever existed.
When my depression hits hard, my self-worth gets warped. I don’t understand that you actually want to see me. That you actually miss looking into my eyes and hearing my voice. That you actually care.
So if I accidentally hurt you, please don’t take it to heart. I’m really not trying to be rude. I’m only trying to make it to tomorrow.