Behind Hannah's Mind
I think I’ve been depressed for more of my life than I really realize. Until pretty recently, I thought being sad was just part of my personality. I knew that everyone gets sad sometimes, so I normalized a lot of things. I thought it was normal to have weeks where all you ate was plain toast because that’s all you could bother to make, if you bothered to eat at all. I thought it was normal to sometimes go days without showering or brushing your teeth because you didn’t have the energy. I thought it was normal to look in the mirror and not recognize yourself. I thought it was normal to feel like you’re watching everything happen from behind a screen door. I thought it was normal to feel like life was a TV show you’re tired of watching. I thought it was normal to think about ending my life like it was as inconsequential as cancelling a gym membership. Friends and counsellors have told me this isn’t normal and this isn’t the way life is supposed to be. Some days I still struggle to believe they’re telling the truth, but I’m trying. I’ve learned that trying is better than not trying.
Sometimes one of the only things that makes me feel worthwhile is the stuff I do for student leadership on campus, because it gives me some sort of purpose. I’ve been so incredibly lucky to have some amazing opportunities and hold some amazing positions, but sometimes it feels like I’m lying to everyone. It feels like I don’t deserve it. People see me getting involved and being so enthusiastic, so outgoing, and so friendly, and they assume that’s the way I am all of the time. I don’t know how to tell them that most days I don’t feel like I’ve earned those opportunities, or that I really don’t think there’s anything special about myself. When I run into a friend on campus and I can’t be the happy, smiling student leader they know because just getting out of bed and getting dressed was a major accomplishment that day, I feel like a fraud. I feel like a burden. I just want to be able to tell them it’s not their fault, and I’m not acting that way because I don’t want to see them. It’s just because most days, smiling just takes more energy than I have left.