At some time or another we have all masked our true emotion with a smile. You cover sadness and grief with a smile or a laugh so it all LOOKS good. But nothing really FEELS good. Anxiety and depression are almost too easy to cloak. Social media presents the opportunity to create an image we desire.
Many of us are dealing with mental health challenges that our peers, family and friends know nothing about. It is most often the loud, happy friend that is suffering the most. It’s your always “so strong” friend suffering the most. I was that friend. I was struggling. I was trying to cope alone until I just couldn’t. But I’m one of the lucky ones. I have access to great healthcare. I have friends that didn’t stop checking on me. I have a husband that encourages me to talk and feel all the things. Even though it kills me.
If I can stress anything it would be to check on your people. It would be to talk to your people about those feelings. If you’re like me talking about it sometimes feels crippling; write it down. Big smiles can hold oceans of depression, anxiety, bipolar, etc. And please realize, children have big feelings too. Please allow them the space to be heard.
I want to conclude this with a small writing filled with big feelings:
I can feel it slowly creeping to the surface
While other days it is a devious surprise
It can hit like a ton of bricks
A weight unscaleable yet too heavy to bear
Carried with such grace and smile it is virtually unseen by the likes of man unaccustomed
Conversations to heal and incense to cleanse
Tears that stain your face coming from wells of unknown depth and reason
Worry so unfathomable nobody seems to understand the ins and out of your emotion
It’s hard to talk and so instead you simmer in it
A stew of pain and worry and sadness
Sometimes a meal others cannot seem to stomach because of course you seemed just fine earlier
But really it was just a day it slowly crept behind you with a cold tap on the shoulder
Nevertheless the depth of it will make you sleep for hours or the worry of it all will leave you to contemplate it in the wee hours
But tomorrow is coming and a new day is dawning, maybe today your smile will be expressing joy not masking the dark depths
This is just some days but really this is life every day
This is depression, this is anxiety, this sometimes has no explanation, but this always needs grace