I often feel as though I am faking my way through life, pretending to be okay and alright when really I am battling to hold it all together. Admittedly, to some extent we are all masking our true emotions to obey certain social rules or to be polite.
When we become depressed, it can feel as though we have been faking our whole lives as our negative thoughts take hold. We begin to devalue our current and previous successes. I know I do this and as a perfectionist, I think less of things I believe are not up to standard. I become overly focused on the flaws in my achievements.
However this is not entirely accurate, it is merely our depression making us think this way; for example, I know that there were times I had to fake happiness in my job, but when I think objectively, I realise I must have had some talent that I didn’t fake to get me there in the first place.
The key question that interests me is, are we really faking it, or are we just lying? The ability to lie and fake things is an important social skill, sometimes it is better to sugar coat things or to at least be diplomatic to risk hurting people’s feelings – too much honesty is not always helpful.
However, I know there are times when I have outright lied to maintain my positive persona;
- I have lied to work; ‘I’ve got food poisoning so I won’t be able to come into work today’ when really I’ve just managed to stop crying long enough to make that phone call.
- I’ve lied to friends; ‘I’m sorry but I can’t make today because I’ve double booked’ when the reality is that I’m still lying in bed and I don’t feel able to get up and face the world.
- I’ve lied to family; ‘I’m so sorry but I can’t make your birthday meal tonight because I’m snowed under at work’ when really the thought of making polite conversation for 2 hours is just too much.
So to everyone I’ve lied to, I apologise. I felt it easier to lie than to admit that I have a mental health problem for fear of what you would think and how you would treat me. I suffer from severe depression and anxiety, and I am trying to be more vocal about that.