“We all get so tired of wearing that same tired mask of Positivity-with-a-Capital-P, putting on that cracked porcelain facade every day just so we don’t have to hear “cheer up” or anything along those lines. When I was deep in depression a few months ago, acquaintances giving me those platitudes wasn’t what kept me from curling up in my bed and disappearing in on myself, it was the HOPE that one day the light would shine again.”
I posted this as part of a comment on Felicia’s meaningful The Bullshit “Be Positive” vs. the Realistic “Be Hopeful” Narrative post today.
It’s something to think about – we see these feel-good, made-for-Pinterest phrases about “staying positive” and “looking on the bright side” and “being cheerful” all the time. We’re told as people that we need to smile and be chirpy and peppy constantly.
But what if you can’t be? What if you are constantly struggling with darkness, or fear, or stress, or illness? What if you just have enough energy in your day to get up, take the bare minimum care of yourself, go to work, and go home?
A few months ago, I was in this place. I was fighting this struggle. I only had the energy to get up and take care of myself – and that meant going to work and doing what I needed to do to get by. The only joy – if I could have called it that – in my life was my dog, my husband, and the few interactions with my close friends. Doug asked me multiple times what was wrong…but that was the problem. Nothing was wrong. I had a job that I loved, an amazing husband, wonderful friends and family, and my finances were finally getting better. There was nothing for me to be depressed about, and that knowledge made me feel even worse.
So on the outside, I put on the “mask of positivity”. I smiled, and I acted like nothing was wrong in public. When I was around certain friends, co-workers, and acquaintances, I went through the motions like my life was great and nothing was wrong. On the inside, however…I felt like nothing mattered.
My entire life changed with one doctor’s visit. I had switched doctors since my last doctor was ignoring all the symptoms and issues that I was talking with him about. (Not only that, he wasn’t reading my chart and was forgetting important things like the FACT THAT I AM DIABETIC.) My new doctor, Dr. B., ran some blood tests and reviewed my old ones, and diagnosed me with Hashimoto’s Disease, a form of hypothyroidism. She explained that Hashimoto’s symptoms can include struggling with weight loss, constant fatigue, and depression.
I almost started crying right there in the doctor’s office. For the first time in months, someone had given me the one thing I needed – and it wasn’t a faux-cheerful pep talk. It was HOPE.
Since that time, I’ve been on thyroid medication, and my outlook has changed significantly. That heavy curtain of sadness is gone. That’s not to say that I don’t have bad days – I do. I still deal with stress and overly emotional days. The difference is that I have hope now. That’s so much larger, so much MORE than some positivity pat on the head from Pinterest.
If you struggle with depression, you’re not alone. There’s lots of us here with you, and we all have hope that we will come through.