When you suffer with depression and anxiety you are going to find that you keep running into more and more things that can be frustrating or difficult to deal with. It can be as simple as the morning sadness that just doesn’t want to let you out of bed, or it can be the level of medication you take to manage your depression and anxiety that has side affects – are you prepared to live with those side affects. In this post I am going to just discuss something that I have found and continue to find a challenge – people. Later I will discuss other things that have tested my coping ability.
From a very early age I found myself thinking that everybody was superior to me. Although I was good at my school work, everything was hard for me, I just didn’t have the desire to get ahead or succeed, I felt that I didn’t deserve any praise or credit that someone else should get that. I didn’t feel that people would or should like me. By my teens I had basically given up on myself as a person. For the most part I just tagged along with my older brother. Whenever I went out with friends I always felt like baggage, not part of the group. Usually I would never walk with people, even my friends, I would walk behind them even if there was only two of us. As an adult I still felt the same but by then I had learnt the art of subterfuge. Yes I could fool almost anyone into thinking that I was in control of my life. Now it might seem that this is not too bad and could in fact be a positive! From where I am at now I can assure you it is not good. It just meant to keep up the charade I had to keep on taking on more, accept things I should have turned down, not because I wasn’t capable of doing them, but because I was slowly but surely self destructing, burning myself out.
Now I know all this sounds like me having self-esteem issues, and it is, but when you are on the inside looking out all you see are the people, those who somehow know what to say, know how to behave, know how to…, and you just don’t have the mental capacity to cope. The problem with the self-esteem idea is that even today when I actually do know what I am capable of, I know what to say, I know how to behave, etc, I don’t need anyone to tell me I am great (hehe), I still see people in the same way and struggle to relate to these superior creatures. Sometimes I find myself looking at someone not even half my age and being in awe of them like they are something special. But if I stop and analyse it, I am just as capable as them, sometimes much better! Yet I still can’t make those feelings go away. If I try to talk to such ones I quickly find myself wanting to defend myself, from what I don’t know. When they talk to me, instead of taking on board what they say and responding the way I know I should, I go speechless, “If I say that I might upset them”, “they might think I’m stupid”, “they might not like me any more”…. either that or I go the opposite and I make a complete fool of myself by being too blunt, too outspoken, not really funny at all. If I am really lucky, I will find a quiet corner to hide in!
The moral of the story is…do the best you can. Letting people know how you feel is a big help, that way if you need to suddenly escape, they will know why. At the coffee shop I frequent most, I told the owners that if they see me sitting in the corner crying not to panic, it’s quite normal for me on down days. They were ok with that and everything has continued as normal. What I don’t want to do is to try to cover up my condition and put more stress and pressure on myself, I already know where that ends up. You will find for the most part, people will be understanding if you are open and honest with them, and the exceptions…..we can’t do anything about them, but honestly it’s them that’s got the problem not you.