In this journaling adventure I have come to learn a few things about myself. As I delve into this journey of self discovery I am realizing more and more that I am guilty of hiding my true self.
I wear a mask, albeit a figurative one, and I wear it every day. It makes me appear to be strong and capable, cheerful and outgoing. This mask continues to smile in spite of what is going on with the person behind it. I use it to hide my vulnerable self, the one that sometimes cannot get out from under the sadness. This mask allows me to control what people see. It gives me courage to go out into the world and face the public.
My mask has been worn many times, and it used to fit me like a glove. Lately, though, it has begun to feel cumbersome and I struggle to hold it in place. I am becoming increasingly more exhausted each time I have to readjust it. So much so, that I no longer wish to wear it.
I'd love to remove it and hang it up in the closet with the cloak of grief I described in my last post. I don't want to put it on, yet I don't wish to burden people with my real feelings. This is the thing I've learned about depression. It creates a sense of loneliness because I cannot show my vulnerabilities. In turn, this makes me feel trapped. I have a sense that I can never truly express how I'm feeling for fear of bringing other people down. I also fear that people won't understand. They won't see my sadness as something that I just can't "snap out of." These feelings breed anxiety. I start to worry what people will think of me. I over analyze so many of my insecurities.
I have terrible social anxiety. I would much rather stay home, with my husband and children, where I know it is safe. Here I do not have to keep up pretenses. I trust my family and allow them to see my vulnerabilities. In social settings however, I am worried that people will see the broken person who hides behind her perfected smile. Because of this it has become safer, and easier, to stay at home. Leaving the sanctuary of our home often frightens me. I am increasingly terrified of being judged or pitied. I am scared of being "seen."
I've read enough to know that avoidance is not a healthy coping mechanism, but I still prefer to be alone. I am never lonely when I am by myself. Just the opposite in fact. I find that this is when I am most comfortable.
What I hope to find in this journey is a balance. I want the option of wearing the mask when I most need to, but I also want to be able to remove it when I am with those that understand and make me feel safe. Finding this balance is a constant struggle, mainly because I do not know how to ask for help. I only wish to be a giver not a taker. I do not feel worthy of accepting help.