“You’re always so happy!”, “You never looked sad?”, “I wouldn’t have guessed you were so low”, these are the phrases I’ve heard a lot of in the past few days, weeks and months. I don’t blame people for not seeing the pain I’ve been in, it’s a type of suffering that is underneath the skin and is trapped inside the mind. Only the people who are suffering know, and this simply makes things worse as they try their hardest to continue with their life with no disruptions.
I’m not the only one that tries to hide my mental illness, and I’m sure there are many who are still trying to conceal this type of secret. But those who live with a mental illness and myself, have something in common, we all can disguise our misery and replace it with happiness. We place a mask over our faces that shield our tired sore eyes and overturned smile so that we don’t have to confess the reasoning behind why our physical features are in such an unhealthy state. We as humans do this exercise on repeat, those who suffer from mental illness and those who don’t. Sadly, everyone can relate to waking up in the morning feeling dreadful, and walking out the front door with a massive grin slapped onto their face. Like the world is just as happy as the sun on a warm summer day on the beach, yet we are the ones drowning underneath the waves of the ocean.
Why do we do this to ourselves? Hide our unpleasant emotions from the rest of society. We know that people have a mixture of both good and bad days, yet we don’t allow ourselves to express when and why we are distraught. We need to accept and allow our emotions to be seen externally from within us and let ourselves feel the sensations, good and bad.
This is something my psychologist, and I have discussed in the past, as I tend never to allow myself to show feelings, both the pleasant and unpleasant. However, my ability to hide my emotions has started from a very young age and wasn’t stemmed from my mental illnesses, although it did impact the way I didn’t release my emotions. Without going into deep as people who would know me might be able to guess who this person is. I had to teach myself from an early age to hide my own emotions, in an environment where they should have been able to speak loudly without judgement. To prevent my emotions from getting mocked, I unconsciously taught myself to keep a straight face, basically not allowing myself to cry when I needed to cry in times of sorrow, to smile in times of happiness, or to be angry in times of fury. Doing this also taught me how not to feel feelings, I would be emotionless, and all of this is being carried through with me as I begin my adventure as an adult.
I believe us as humans are going to have our fair share of good and bad days. Nevertheless the way we think of the situation can impact how ourselves handle it emotionally. My psychologist advised that in times where I am severely anxious or in a bad state of mind, I should embrace the emotions that are being felt, know that I’m feeling sad or angry, and know that’s okay. It releases the pressure of keeping a cheery appearance, therefore, making it easier on ourselves to get through a rough time. We need to be further easier on ourselves, know that whatever we are feeling in time will pass, for good or bad, to be accepting of those who choose to show their true emotions, and welcome the idea of being vocal with our own worrying states to connect deeper with not just ourselves but those around us.