The eighth wonder of the world: Smiling Depression

Before I left school about 4/5 years ago, I began to get pretty bad mood swings. And these mood swings would be instant in that I could go from having a perfectly normal conversation with a friend to wanting to walk out of the room and run home in seconds. It was whilst all of these mood swings were kicking in that I started having thoughts about suicide. After speaking to pastoral care, she said she wanted to see me every morning for 10 minutes before school – suicide watch. Fantastic. The one thing I didn’t want was anyone fussing over me and now that’s exactly what they were doing. I know they had a duty of care and all that jazz but it felt like they were all “keeping an eye on me” in lessons and then reporting everything back to pastoral care to make sure I was alright. I had days where that was a good thing and I was thankful there was someone there I could talk to, and then there were days I’d tell them to get lost (or similar words…) because it felt like they were following me around waiting until I did something they could talk to me about.

A few months passed and I was sticking to my word of seeing the care team every morning until one day an English lesson would prove to be the final nail in the coffin. It was a normal English lesson, reading a book (Shakespeare probably!) in silence and then writing comments on “what the author really meant”. Stupid question. How the **** am I supposed to know what the author means? It’s a book. Read it.

Anyway, we’re sat in silence and about 35 minutes into this lesson something happens. Not physically, nothing happens in the room, but mentally. I could never figure out what but something changed in my head and I had to leave. By this point pastoral care had emailed all of my teachers to tell them what was going on so they all had a pretty good idea of what I could/couldn’t do – hence they stopped asking me to answer questions in front of the class. I just stood up and walked out. I left all of my things, my jacket, bags etc and just walked out of the room. I didn’t look at anyone except the teacher who nodded. He knew what was happening.

To this day I still don’t know where I went. I ended up finding my girlfriend at the time in another class but apparently that was 30 minutes after I left my own class. I don’t remember where I went and nobody saw me so I couldn’t have been somewhere visible.

It was after this that I really knew there was something wrong. It wasn’t something I could deal with on my own and it meant I had to talk to someone. Now, at school I was always the one who sat on his own in the corner. I wouldn’t interact with anyone unless they were talking directly to me. I wouldn’t engage with class discussions or even try to make new friends. At the time I had a girlfriend and after this wobble it became clear she didn’t want to stay. I don’t blame her really but I really did love her.

Sorry, this is a long story. I finally get to the title of this post.

If anyone came and asked me if I was alright I’d just reply with a simple “yeah I’m fine”. My mum would ask me a lot because I’d come home from school and be quieter than normal and she’d ask what was wrong and my response was always that I was just tired. As I mentioned earlier on, I didn’t want people fussing around and having to tiptoe round me in case I flipped. I wanted people to be normal and just accept that I wasn’t any different but it just took me longer to do things than others.

I used to refer to the Mask. At home I wasn’t too bad. I could/would interact with my parents but as soon as someone else came into the house I would try and take myself off to my room and get away. It wasn’t that I disliked the people coming to the house but I just didn’t want to be in a situation where they ask me questions that I stumbled over trying to come up with suitable answers that wouldn’t be judged. As soon as I left the house I’d put the Mask on and to anyone walking past they’d see a smile and there’d be nothing wrong. On the inside though, I was crying and screaming at myself to just act “normal”.

This was all at school about 4/5 years ago. I then left, predictably split up with my girlfriend and things started to calm down a bit. I was no longer stuck at school so I could do what I wanted to do. That continued until a year ago when things started getting worse again. This time I don’t get the mood swings but the low periods are very low. I get nights where I hide myself in my room and just stay in there watching tv or sitting on the Xbox. My parents know about the anxiety and depression issues so if I’ve taken myself off to my room they know just to leave me. Having them come in and try to talk me out of the mood only riles me more and they know that. I know there will be people out there saying they’re only trying to help and talking to someone when you’re down often helps make you feel better but for me, at the moment, it doesn’t help.

That’s partly why I started this blog in the new year. I tried keeping a diary a few months ago but got bored of that after a month or so and haven’t written in it since. I’m hoping the attraction of being famous with shitloads of followers (joking, obviously) will help me keep on here writing stuff.

You’ll notice that I interject little jokes or quips or try to humour things up during my posts. I do that both because I’m a natural born comedian and the public deserve to hear my hilariousness, but also because it lightens the mood somewhat. Inside, I often feel black. I don’t want to come across as that, or as someone who can’t find jokes in everything or can’t have a laugh etc. It does mean I’ll joke about things that probably shouldn’t be joked about. I can find a joke in anything but it does mean I have a pretty dark sense of humour. I know when to stop though, it’s not that bad.

Anyway I’ll stop stealing you from your work. If you’ve read all of the above you need to get a life. No, I’m joking. If you genuinely have read this whole post you’re an amazing person and thank you. Please feel free to comment with your own stories below. I’m a much better listener than speaker so if you need to vent at someone send me a message!

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