*spins index finger next to temple in a clockwise direction

I wish I had never told anyone. It’s good to talk they say and they are right in many ways. A problem shared is a problem halved so spread the misery around.

But I still wish I hadn’t told anyone. Suffer in silence. Look after yourself. Don’t be a burden.

By telling people, I became a burden and becoming a burden started the path to paranoia.

And actually it’s pretty easy to hide depression and anxiety and everything else. You may not feel it, but smiling and laughing is easy to fake. It’s exhausting, it’s unhealthy but it isn’t difficult until you let the guard down and then it’s impossible.

So I should have kept the guard up. I was depressed for a long time before I told anyone and no one knew. I continue to interact with people, including my family, and none of them suspect. All of them would be surprised if I told them.

They might then notice the subtle changes. I used to be known as fun and giggly – people would comment on how often I laughed (sometimes I think in an irritated way!) and how often I smiled. No one does that anymore. I remember the last time I really genuinely laughed loud and long. It was Easter. Over lunch with some friends, reminiscing. The time before that was on a rollercoaster in the driving rain in November. Fake laughing in between, of course, and some smiles – real and fake. But while I may still irritate people in a variety of ways, excessive giggling and laughing isn’t one of them.

It’s exhausting pretending all the time. So it’s easier to isolate, to pull away and cut off. And then isolation breeds and becomes the norm and suddenly I’m alone all the time. I go to work and I exhaust myself smiling and laughing and then I go home and I shut the door and I block the door and my only companions are bottles of beer, glasses of wine, sugar and TV. And weeks go by between face-to-face encounters with friends, between phone calls, months – even between texts and messages weeks can go now. The isolation owns me. I’m too tired to fight it.

And like Therapist Number One pointed out: what do you expect if you keep moving around? Of course you’re not going to have any friends.

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