There were no signs

TRIGGER WARNING! This post deals with a subject that could be confronting.

This is a personal perspective based on my own experiences. I accept that others will have different experiences.

If you have read by posts on depression, you will know I have confronted my mortality a couple times, and I have had many occurrences where those thoughts have resurfaced but I have been of a mindset where they were not intrusive. Like this morning. Frustration with having to get out of bed, face another day of work, where you feel your work is undervalued, and a sense of perpetual loneliness fuelling thoughts of worthlessness, leading to self-questioning the point.

This time however, rather than falling into the spiral of self-loathing, my brain connected with another perspective, sideswiping the black train descent.

In additional to battling these thoughts of my own, I have been a spectator to others dealing with the loss of close friends and family. The loss and grief of a self-concluding choice is painful, and often confusing. People are left wondering if they missed something, wondering why the other didn’t reach out, confused that they had seen the only the day before and had no idea it waws that imminent.

It is well accepted that people battling with depression and other such conditions will often mask, presenting a face to the world, trying to save their friends the pain they are feeling. They become very good at it. The pressure to hide your pain from society can be intense, and I speak from personal experience, being told that no-one wanted to see that side of you. “Smile! It might never happen.” We learn that others don’t care about your feelings, or that you should never show weakness, or a variation thereof.

This morning, the mask fractured, and it came on suddenly. I think it is because I have been working so hard to drop masking in general that I was more open to criticising my own thoughts rather than fighting to maintain the false image, and it made me aware of something I’m sure is already documented somewhere;

When the mask breaks, it breaks quickly, and the more masks you have, the greater the effect.

I realised that because I believed so much in the need to keep things hidden, when it broke, it was an added humiliation compounding the spiral, propelling my descent like a rocket. Once I had removed some of those layers, essentially accepting myself more, it provided a buffer, space for the shock to echo in without overwhelming me.

What I am trying to say is that there often will be no signs, to both witness and victim. Simply waking up in the morning, when your mind is still between sleep and wake, and your walls aren’t fully up, can be all it takes to crumble under the blow back of what is not longer contained. A simple word that happens to find a crack in the masks can trigger a fracture in the dam, and it the pressure of what is hidden is great enough, nothing will hold back the flood.

We become very good at building masks and convincing ourselves that these masks will protect us, so we are taken by surprise when they fail. We have deluded ourselves that we can take another day. Then in an instant, we can’t even do that. We are a failure, and all our worst thoughts are confirmed. Caught unprepared, knowing we were in a bad place, yet not aware how deep it really was, and overwhelmed at the end.

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