Yesterday I woke up feeling quite bleak. Today I’m feeling a little better, today I feel not too bleak. I’ve been thinking a lot about who I am, who I am to the people in my life and the gap between the two.
Let me start by saying, I am me and I am honest. I don’t entertain the idea of trying to fit in, either I do or I don’t. I don’t feel any longing to be liked, either I am or I’m not. So when I interact with people I don’t go out of my way to try and impress or perform. I am me. When i’m having a bad mental health day, I generally choose to stay home because I can’t pretend I’m not falling apart. As I mentioned in my last post, when I arrived in Malta, I soon began feeling like an imposter. I felt like my friends didn’t know the person they had standing among them wasn’t the same girl. We look the same, we sound very similar, but I am different now and I couldn’t revert back to any previous version of myself. Not even for them. Not even for 4 days.
I wondered about what, if any changes, they could see. Maybe they think I’m just tired and need to sleep a lot. Maybe they think I’m just a bit sad but I can’t be that bad. Maybe they do see the mental and emotional cuts and scars I bear and they just don’t understand how it all happened. I’ve had a few questions here and there, but nothing that will reveal much, and can see them trying to reconcile what I’m saying with what they thought they knew about me. This made me realise the importance of what I’m trying to do here in this second incarnation of All Mountain Pass. I want to lift a veil on my mental health, I want to lift the veil on my myself. I want people to get to know me and understand me. I am a person that suffers from depression and anxiety. I am one of many around the world that for years suffered in silence and let that isolation further ruin me. I am more than my disease, I know I am, but I don’t deny my disease is a large part of my identity. It sounds awful to say, but it is the truth. My disease is my every day truth, it is what I deal with every day, it’s what I treat and try to fight every day.
To not see my disease, is choosing to turn a blind eye to a significant part of me. It is choosing to deny my true identity and to press upon me a rose-coloured version that I am not, and will never actually be. To not see my disease, is to never be in a position to offer me aid because you will not know when it has a strangle on me. Further, it denies you the opportunity to ever truly know who I am because you’re choosing to only know a part of me. Until I’ve shared my struggles with someone, I don’t feel like I know someone (because I know I’ll never feel safe around them) and don’t believe they can know me. So I try to be forthcoming with my truths, I share liberally, because I’m tired of spiralling in the dark, and I’m done with being cast in shadows.
At the moment, I’m trying to decide if someone that was meant to know me ever really did. I had shared my mental health journey with them, more so than most. But I have recently learnt they saw me as a complete person separate from my depression and anxiety. They didn't see my mental illness as a part of me, they didn't think about my mental illness when they thought of me. They said they saw me. When they told me this I thought it was sweet that someone had seen me for for who I aspired to be, that to them my aspirational self was my authentic self. But it was also naive because this was a version they wished I was. Maybe they did know me, see me, but they chose the more palatable me, for their own comfort.
So to the readers out there:
Please don’t deny someone who they are. Don’t dismiss or disqualify those parts that don’t make sense in the picture you have of them in your mind. Observe it all, accept it all, embrace it all, and love them for all of it.