I’ve been trying to imagine what I must look like to someone on the outside, someone who isn’t stuck with this brain, this body, these thoughts. For most people it might be a bit confusing or irritating but more than likely they make a decision about me and move on. The people I worked with over the summer must have thought I was unfriendly, anti-social, humourless, maybe stressed; I hope at least they thought I was good at my job. Other people might think I’m shy, introverted, more than likely aloof and possibly snobbish. I doubt any of them would know that something’s wrong.
And those people I know who I haven’t told, I avoid if I can and I see for short period at a time when avoidance is impossible. They may notice I’m a bit quieter but they take any negative comments as the joke I present them as (what would they do if they knew how much I mean it when I make a throwaway comment about dying soon, about slitting my wrists, about disappearing and never seeing anyone again).
And then there are those who know. To them I must be tedious and scary in equal measure. And I need them to be bored and frightened which is awful and I know it’s awful but it’s true. If there was another way, I’d take it but I don’t think there is. I know how I’ve felt when I’ve discovered people I care about are depressed or self harm. I’ve never known anyone who’s admitted to being suicidal and I can’t imagine the panic and worry I’d feel if the roles were reversed.
But there are times when I’m ashamed to admit that I have owned up to those feelings. I never intended to, it wasn’t by design. I’ve tried since to justify it but there is no justification. It isn’t OK to worry people even if you need to share so I’m being more careful now. I’m trying to step back and not contact anyone when it’s bad these days. And if they happen to contact me I’m trying to put a face on and not open up too much. I’m trying to put myself in their shoes.