“I find it so weird because you look so normal,” she said catching me off guard. I sucked back a piece of pickle and started to choke. Her cheeks reddened and her eyes bulged, afraid that she had said something incredibly offensive to someone who is mentally ill. She passed me a glass of water, “I didn’t mean it like…you know what I….that I don’t know what to say to someone who…” she stuttered.
“You’re an asshole,” I retorted.
What does depression look like?
Depression has many faces. It isn’t always looking sad, defeated, forgoing hygiene, and lying in the corner rocking life away. It can be smiles, laughs, makeup, freshly pressed clothes, and looking happy while kicking leaves with your child. We are visual creatures and depression is an invisible illness. On the surface, people with bipolar depression can very much look and act like “normal” people do, however behind the façade of “normalcy” we are actively getting mauled by a cold heartless wilder beast.
My depression doesn’t resemble the discontented woman slouched forward under the crushing weight of hopelessness on the brochure in the doctor’s office and in every antidepressant commercial. I am quite the opposite. I maintain a well kempt appearance and engage in social settings exactly like the awkward knob that I was born to be. This is probably why a lot of people are perplexed when they discover that I have bipolar disorder and more so when I’m dangerously teetering on the brink of insanity.
The true colours of my depression show when I’m in the safe confines of my home. It shoots out of my face and I don’t know where my tears end and where my runny snot begins. I get “hulk angry” over things like icing cupcakes and my feeble attempts to pound the piss out of the washing machine lid because it closed on my shoulder.
I hate everything that has the letters a, e, y, o, or, y in the word, your mom, and myself.
My depression is feeling bone crushing sadness, emptiness, helplessness, hopelessness, anxiety, anger, and so on.
And yet she smiles.
Across the table, Darla readies herself for a lecture.
“Actually, my aluminum foil helmet didn’t match my outfit and I left my ominous dark cloud that hovers above me at home.”
She giggled as she picked up her fork and pointed it towards me. “No, I meant that I couldn’t tell that you’re depressed right now. You don’t look like it.”
“What am I supposed to look like?” I asked.
“I’m not sure but if this is your depressed face, I hope that when you’re busy dying, you’ll remember to tell me.”