Depression Marathon Blog

My photo
Diagnosed with depression 19 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Outside vs Inside

I worked yesterday. It was a good day. And that's why it was strange from the moment I walked through the door. I watched with fascination as I interacted cheerfully and effortlessly with my coworkers. I marveled at how professionally I treated my patients, all the while smiling and joking. I was efficient and completed all my tasks despite my exhaustion during my 8 1/2 hour day. Who was that physical therapist? Certainly that couldn't have been me. But it was.

One day later, as I struggle with intrusive thoughts and low mood, I continue to be confused by yesterday's performance. The dichotomy between how I looked on the outside and how I felt on the inside was striking. Amazing, really. And it doesn't make sense. It didn't make sense to me in the moment yesterday, and it still doesn't make sense today. I don't get it.

I guess I'm glad I was able to pull it off. My convincing performance allowed me to perform my duties, earn money, and be a contributing member of our team. But here's the really strange part. I wasn't faking. I didn't feel like I was working hard to put on a "good face." The good face just was. I felt empty and low internally, but there was no sign of it externally. How is that possible?

When I got home after work my mood plummeted quickly. It wasn't until that point when my outside matched my inside. It was a long night. And it's been a long day. I can't stop wondering about the weirdness of yesterday. Like I said, I'm glad I was able to work, but I don't feel good about how strikingly my outside appearance differed from how I felt internally. It's disconcerting, confusing and weird. I guess I wish I felt the way I appeared. But I don't.


Angela said...

I am so happy you posted about this. I have struggled with that same sort of odd feeling. I sometimes wonder if it has anything to do with environment-like some sort of environment linked depression. Might be something interesting to look into.

Rachael said...

I often feel like this, although as it occurs so frequently I do feel like I am "faking" it. I'm often grateful as it allows me to move through my day to day life, but then the people around me get a shock when my outside eventually does match the inside as they never saw it coming. Even if I am good about communicating my true feelings, it is hard for others to accept those feelings when my outward actions are so different.

The Real McCoy said...

When this happens to me--outside not matching my inside--I think it's usually because I'm so worn down that it actually seems like MORE work to share my feelings with people I'm not especially close to. I might discuss my feelings with my partner, but, while I really like my co-workers, I just don't have relationships with them where I'd want to talk about my depression. To put it succinctly, I think it feels easier to put on a brave face than it does to be vulnerable.

Tom said...

I'm having a really bad day and so I Googled running with depression and eventually came across your blog. I have to say just reading a few of your posts has really struck a cord with me. Thank you for the courage to share your feelings which are much like the ones I've been trying to keep hidden. In one post you wrote "I was having random suicidal thoughts, but I'm not suicidal." That is something I struggle with and I often wonder if others feel that way. It's nice to know I'm not alone in that. Thank you and as much as possible please keep your blog going. I may not always comment but I have a feeling I'll continue reading.

etta said...

@ The Real McCoy: That is a very interesting thought. You may be on to something. Thanks.

Katy said...

Thank you for sharing this. I struggle with some form of this often. I think of it as faking it till I make it. I can often do ok at work. The moment it is done I plummet. The structure of work or being w my family alleviates it some. I feel like I am a failing dam trying to hold back the ocean. The ocean being the depression. It sucks. It absolutely does. I hope to get a run in today bc this sometimes alleviates it.