Yes, you read the title right. No, it wasn’t clickbait. And yes, I mean it.
Depressed people are faking it. Every. Fucking. Day.
I fake it. Your best friend fakes it. The guy at the psych office fakes it. And every single other person with depression is faking it.
And some of us are so fucking good at faking it you’d never be the wiser, no matter how smart you think you are, and no matter how in tune with us you think you are. We are masters at this game. You’re maybe just a little confused about what it is, exactly, we’re faking.
Cause it’s not the sadness, or the numbness, or the anger or the paranoia or the self-loathing or the lack of confidence or the lack of joy. Nah, it’s not the tears or the beating ourselves up. It’s not waking up and wishing we didn’t. It’s not the persistently nagging, pessimistic thoughts that have claimed our heads as home. Nope, unfortunately, all that stuff is pretty real.
Instead, we fake the rest. The other stuff. The normal.
Like when you’re stuck in a slump, balled up on the couch feeling sorry for yourself. It’s hard to find the energy to even say a word to your significant other, and suddenly someone knocks on the door. The lights are on; they know you’re home. So you have no choice but to open the door and fake it. And god damn, do you do it well. You amaze yourself every time, because who is this person, and why couldn’t I find her five minutes ago?
It’s the same at work. You sit in your car in the parking lot, taking your last chance to breathe alone. You don’t want to be here. You want to be home, in bed, alone, forever. You almost stayed home today, but you forced yourself to get this far. So you go. And when you walk through the doors… you’re different; you’re okay for now. Why couldn’t I be okay before?
It’s when you go to the grocery store, or order your coffee, or when you have to make a phone call. You don’t know where it comes from, but somehow there seems to be a living soul inside your normally empty body. You hear yourself speaking clearly, laughing along and being a social being and you just wish you could be that way all the time.
So why can’t you? Why is it so easy sometimes and so hard as soon as the circumstances change? The second your visitor leaves; as soon as you’re finished work; right when you hang up the phone; walk out of the store – you’re back to where you were. No more faking it.
It’s weird, because in those moments I sometimes almost forget I’m faking it. I ride the wave as long as I can, but eventually I crash. And usually once I do, I am completely depleted. It’s like going out for a joyride and not noticing you’re running on empty. And then – BOOM, it’s over. You’re out of fuel. You crash and burn and it takes a lot to get you going again.
I fake it a lot. I do it to get by. It’s necessary for survival. I can’t change how I’m feeling, but sometimes shit has to get done. I can try to muster up the courage on my own – I can try to psych myself up to go out into the world. Some days it’s no problem at all. Other days, it’s impossible, and it won’t happen unless it has to happen. So, I fake it. I’m really good at it – I’ve fooled a lot of people. And you know what? I’m not the only one who does it. I bet you know someone who’s been fooling you, too.