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I Can't Come In Today, I Have Depression
Posted by dirkgently1066
3rd May 2016

Dear work,

I can’t come in today because I have depression. I feel worthless, stupid and barely able to concentrate. I am tired (oh, so tired) and all I want to do is lie in my bed until the world stops.

I also have anxiety. Which means as much as I want to sleep, I can’t because there are too many things I am worried about. If I stop, something terrible is bound to happen, everyone will realise what a fraud I am. It is all so much and I feel like I can’t cope.

Of course you probably don’t know any of this because every day I slip on a mask to hide my true state. Despite my mind feeling as though it is stuck in heavy fog, and despite my insides feeling like they are going to shake out my organs, I maintain the pretence of being competent to make others feel more comfortable. It is very tiring pretending to be someone else all day.

***

Of course we would never actually write a letter like this. I wonder why not?

The trouble with mental health problems is that it sometimes feels as though you don’t have permission to be ill. Despite any declarations of empathy from those around, there is a sense that they don’t truly understand. ‘You have depression? And anxiety? Wow, must be awful. Now, about these important documents…’

The truth of the matter is that life goes on and if you don’t want to be left behind, you feel obliged to go along with it. And so you put aside your fears, your insecurities and your crushing self-doubt, tuck it away in a box and only peek at it when you think no one is looking.

I chose to be open about my illness, both as a means of confronting and understanding my own issues as well as hopefully helping others going through something similar to find some reassurance that they are not alone. Yet there remains a nagging doubt in my mind, a sense that if I raise the spectre of depression or anxiety, the response would be, ‘Still? Aren’t you better yet?’

But then who am I actually looking for ‘permission’ from? Friends? Family? Colleagues? Perhaps. But maybe the person who I really need permission from the most is me.

I’ll never be ‘better’ of course. Some days I feel on top of the world. Other days I feel crushed of all fight. But I keep going. In part because I have to but mostly because I want to. And that wasn’t always the case.

We can never truly know what another person is going through. Not all wounds are visible. Sometimes the most painful injuries are the ones we cannot see.

Read more of my blogs and short stories at http://www.1066allstars.webs.com

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