A great blogger that goes by the name Mindfump posted today (maybe yesterday by the time I finish writing this) Why People Hide Their Mental Health Issues and it got me to thinking. Why do I hide my depression? And why do I retain anonymity on here?
To the first questions I’ve whittled it down to a few reasons
- When you do tell people they make you feel worse. Not everyone is guilty of this but the majority of people don’t understand depression so they tend to say things that make you cringe. Or worse they make you feel like you should talk to someone about it… just not them… not here. That would be very inconvenient for them…
- With the depression comes a good (well bad I suppose) amount of anxiety. I want to be normal and well liked and the anxiety tells me that I am not. It tells me that my mental health makes me strange and unlike able. So it would be better to keep it to myself.
- I don’t want to drag other people down with me. Sometimes I have such a bleak outlook on life I can’t help but feel utterly pointless. Moreover I have noticed in previous work places that I inadvertently have an ability to manipulate peoples way of thinking. I swear I don’t have any intention of doing it but before I realise what I’m doing my persuasive skill is in action and peoples opinions on difficult topics have been changed and sometimes they don’t realise that it was down to me…(This is not intended as a boast, more a concern). And if I am capable of that then imagine how depressed I could make them by sharing my bleak outlook on life. My depression would insidiously spread like a rain laden cloud ready to piss all over everything.
This is not to say that I do not share my depression with anyone though. And I don’t just ramble on about it on this blog. I have a large family, seriously, seven of us. Six of us I am certain have at some point suffered from (or still are suffering from) depression. And I’m not so sure the seventh hasn’t too. This might sound like a very depressing household to grow up in but far from it. None of us started suffering from depression until we were in our late teens. And as I’m almost the youngest that means I had a great source of help from the beginning. I always have someone I can talk to when I need to and they understand what I’m saying hooray.
But why do I use a pseudonym on here? Why do I desperately conceal any factual information about my identity? ( I realise I have literally just told you I am from a family of seven) Why at every turn do I profess my anonymity? And why do I refuse to put my true name to my own work, work that has taken me years to complete? (While years is accurate there were definitely extremely long gaps of intense writers block and laziness)
Well I think it’s the anxiety working on two levels. Firstly I’m absolutely terrified that my work is horrific and I’ll be dreadfully embarrassed when someone I know discovers this example of everything bad in writing like I’m the next E.L. James or something. I’d be ridiculed and whether they did or not I would feel like everyone I ever met would know all about it.
Secondly my anxiety means I think through every possible outcome and worry about them for no particular reason because they probably won’t happen. Which means I also worry that my work could be good, good enough to gain me some kind of fame. And then what? Then I’d be famous and I might not want to be, I already hate leaving the house but once that cat is out of the bag there’s no getting it back in (where does that saying come from? why would you put a cat in a bag?). So if I write anonymously I still have the option to remain so should the unlikely occur.
That’s basically it. Anxiety rules my life and dictates what I do and don’t do. That sick gut twisting feeling I get when I disobey my anxiety keeps me in check. But I’m learning to fight against it subtly. So it doesn’t notice. Anxiety is tyrannical dictator than I intend to overcome with guile and stealth. I’ve updated my about page as a moderate starting point. I’ve allowed more of my personality to shine through but so as not to spook my anxiety I still haven’t shared much about me…