We were on vacation and my mom pointed out a card and said she was going to get it for me. There was a Winnie the Pooh quote on it.
You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. ~ Christopher Robbin
I brushed it off for two reasons. 1. That’s what I do and 2. If I didn’t I was probably going to start crying.
But then I thought about it.
It’s true. Even if it doesn’t feel like it sometimes, it’s true. And I have to remember that.
My boss may see someone who isn’t always productive and is forgetful at times, but I still go to work everyday while fighting some of the hardest battles in my head. I can push through the voices and depression and anxiety and still do my job. I do the best I can with what I have. I have a full time job and live independently. That’s not easy when you have a brain that sometimes wants to kill you.
My friends may see someone who bails occasionally and when we finally get together has a tendency to be quiet and not fully functioning. I see someone who still fights for friendships. Someone who can still laugh in spite of the crushing depression. I still care even if I can’t show it. I’m learning the difference between not doing something because of the depression vs not doing something because I need to take care of myself.
I am high functioning. This does not mean I’m not as sick or am fighting harder than someone who isn’t working. My fight is just different. Every fight is different. You can’t compare. As the saying goes, you can’t compare apples and oranges.
Anytime I share my story with someone new, whether it’s telling my boss that I have depression to explain my suddenly different performance, or telling my best friend every sordid detail so she gets why I act the way I do, I am being brave. Setting foot into a new doctor or therapist office is brave. Waking up every morning in spite of everything in me screaming to stay in bed is brave.
As I move forward into this journey with a new therapist and psychiatrist, my greatest fear is that they won’t believe me. That I won’t be able to articulate what I need to. I feel like it’s my job to convince them that I’m sick. I compensate well. I can put on a pretty good game face when I want to.
So today, when I woke up with the cloud of depression hanging over me and the chatter in the back of my head, I’ll remember that for me, I’m being strong and brave going to work anyways.