When I was a little girl, I always wondered what it would be like to be grown up.
I would daydream about all the fun social events I would attend coffee dates, brunches, dinners, happy hours, and wine nights—just for the hell of it. I fantasized about how it would feel to get to go wherever, whenever I wanted—without needing permission from my parents.
Now that I’m an adult, in the general sense of the word, I find myself getting to do those very things I imagined doing. I live a life full of friends, lunches, coffees, and almost nonstop human interaction. As a fitness instructor, I am incredibly fortunate to be part of an amazing community of the most energetic people. We uplift and inspire each other and, consequently, I have developed some of the most fulfilling relationships. I am surrounded by so much love and light, positivity and strength.
However, while I find myself almost never in solitude, there are moments when I am overcome with the most disheartening and overpowering sense of loneliness. They are usually brief but come on so quickly and intensely that they’re nearly debilitating. I start to wonder if any of these people truly care for me or if they only tolerate me when it befits or can benefit them. I wonder if I am disposable, and I am terrified that the answer is yes.
Is being a grown-up just figuring out how to balance the most joyful times with the painfully low ones? Is it having to wonder if I’m mentally unstable or if this undeniable sense of sadness is something everyone occasionally feels? Am I the only one who gets tired of the charade, the only one who sometimes wonders what it would be like to end it? In a world inundated with social media and outwardly perfect lives, it gets harder and harder to feel “normal” or “good enough.”
I know you read that paragraph in confusion because I am the girl who hides behind a constant smile and a carefree giggle. I am the last person you would worry about when it comes to mental health. The truth is sometimes I am resentful of that very thing. You overlook me because I’ve always made things easy for you. I seem so happy. I don’t ask for help. I am well adjusted. I don’t want to be a burden, so I will let you believe that those things are true. I will let you believe that I am fine. And most times, I believe it too.
But I always hope that someone will care enough to look a little closer. On the days when my smile is the biggest and my laugh is the most boisterous, I wish someone would notice my eyes pleading quietly for a soft squeeze of the hand or a long hug. I pray for a small act of kindness to acknowledge how hard it was to get out of bed, and maybe even a celebration of that because they are glad I did. To know that even just one person is truly grateful I am alive today could snap me back to life.
I for one am glad you got out of bed. I am grateful you exist. And I hope you find the courage to say how you’re really feeling.
Depression has a way of making us feel incredibly isolated. We’re here to remind you of the truth that you are not alone. We encourage you to use TWLOHA’s FIND HELP Tool to locate professional help and to read more stories like this one here. If you reside outside of the US, please browse our growing International Resources database. You can also text TWLOHA to 741741 to be connected for free, 24/7 to a trained Crisis Text Line counselor. If it’s encouragement or a listening ear that you need, email our team at firstname.lastname@example.org.