all in your head: living with a mood disorder
p e r s o n a l   e x p e r i e n c e s I have been depressed on and off for most of my life. Sometimes I feel like I don't know who I am, since so many of my behaviors and feelings are colored by depression. What is me and what is my illness?
Everyday is a struggle. Just getting up, showering, eating: the normal activities that we don't even think about take an incredible amount of energy. So many days I want to just stay in bed with my head under the covers. Some days I lose the battle and never get up.
I have had to take time off from college because I couldn't function anymore. I never went to class. I barely left my apartment.
I am not stupid or lazy. When my depression is under control, I am always on the move, always busy. Too busy, in fact. That was one of my coping mechanisms: to stay so busy that I never had time to get upset. I never had time to feel anything at all. I worked myself sick on a routine basis. I wasn't happy. I was numb.
I get so angry. Dammit! I am 21 years old! I should be having fun and exploring life! I shouldn't be stuck in a dead end job living in a town where I have no social life.
But the thought of leaving the house can sometimes bring me to tears.
Somehow I can usually hold it together enough to get to work and put a smile on my face when someone asks me how I am. But its a lie. The only way that I can function is by constructing a self that is capable and polished. Sometimes I hate that me, sometimes I wish that I could really be her.
The amount of anxiety and tension that build up in me during the course of one day seems insurmountable. I don't know where to put it. Sometimes the only way to relieve it is to hurt myself. I hide this because it embarasses me. It makes me feel weak. It makes me feel weak to admit to my depression, my mental illness.
And so very few people know how I hurt. And I don't know if anyone knows how hellish it feels to be me.

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