I’m not an actor or comedian of any sorts. Yet, I just love to make people laugh. So since the day I’ve realised that I can make people laugh, it became my public face. If you have a ‘public face’, it’s just so much easier to hide who you really are or what you really are experiencing. It’s easier to hide the darkness inside you.
But it’s dangerous too.
Most people would not have believed that wellknown Hollywood actor and comedian Robin Williams actually struggled with severe depression and other mental issues. But after his suicide, we know all know that the face of depression can be a very deceiving one.
That is why people who lost loved ones to suicide, often struggle with the guilt afterwards, the issue of “I did not know”, “he did not look suicidal at all”, “but he looked so happy”, “If only I knew”, etc.
We all wear masks. We have to. Society, in general, are still greatly biased against mental issues. It is easier to glue a smile to your face when you go to work, than to open up and just be yourself. For the fear of being rejected because you are “different”, or that everybody would expect you to just collapse.
Agreed, we all handle our illness differently. There are some people who are open about it and get so consumend by it, that they thrive on the sympathy of others. They just loooooove getting the attention they crave so intensely.
But that’s not all of us.
Others, like me, just have to suck it up and go to work. Put your fighting outfit on, paint your face and off you go. Depression and its demons neatly tucked away in the back of your head, but always there. Lurking in the darkness, just waiting for a chance to get out and rip your life to pieces.
So I am a different version of myself when I have to socialise. I laugh the loudest, I make jokes, I always have a funny quip or quirk to add to the conversation. Do I have problems? NOOOOOOOOOO. She’s the jokester, she’s far too shallow to have problems like the rest of us.
If only you knew. But you don’t.
The cost of having to play the role of the joker, is high. It means I have to deal with the demons all by myself. I have to face the darkness all on my own. I struggle with the feelings of loneliness and isolation when everyone thinks I am happy to be all by myself.
Just because they (even family and loved ones) can not deal with who I really am and what I really are going through. I pretend to be the strong one, even when my insides are falling apart into big sharp chunks. I pretend to be okay, even when I’m not.
So maybe it is time to come out and say: I am fighting depression. All the time. Even when you thinkI’m okay – unless you have asked me, I may very well notbe okay.
I make jokes and funny quips, I laugh hard and seems to be shallow-minded and enjoying just to live life. You might be terribly wrong. But you wouldn’t know if you did not ask.
I am always friendly and smiling and funny, because I want you to think that is who I am. But it’s not.
The real me wants to curl up in bed and cry. The real me wants to be held and assured and reassured that tomorrow’s going to be better and if I don’t feel better, it’s still okay. The real me does not have the strength, the will or the desire to get out of bed… Every. Single. Day.
The real me needs the sun to shine, because on rainy days, I can not be the other me. I need to have someone holding me, even when I feel angry and hurt and lonely and sad – all at once.
If you allow me to be the real me, then maybe.
Maybe I will be the smiley face, the joker, the life of the party.