Since travelling down the road to recovery I have always felt like I am on the edge of a cliff waiting for that Black Dog to push me over. Every morning I wake up thinking will this be the day that I fall back into the depths of depression, a new episode to set me back, taking me back into the maze, hiking in rough terrain, in a fog so thick there is no daylight. I fear what will become of me if the Black Dog returns and takes me away.
I am trying to make a new life by not telling my new work colleagues that I have severe depression, because I want their feedback and compliments to be based on my performance, and not on ‘IT’, the illness constantly threatening to come back. If they don’t know, they can’t hurt me with it, right? I also have offered very little about my life, my relationship, or who I am. What if they don’t like me because of who I really am? What if they start judging me or start bullying me because deep down they realise that I am not the strong person who I pretend to be behind my mask? These are my fears at the moment.
I have tried, and probably succeeded, being someone I am not with my trusty friend, my mask. But for how long can I maintain this persona of someone that I’m not, all because I fear judgement, discrimination, and bullying from work colleagues I really don’t know but who scare me. This is not a reflection on who they are, I really don’t know anything about them, but once you are bullied at work, every work colleague is put in the same box. That’s what fear does to you.
My soul mate said to me this morning as I was talking about my latest fear, because there are many, he said “this is the new you”. Why can’t I take that and use it, be the new me and start over, allow these people into my life, allow them to get to know the real me, take down the mask so they can see beyond my scars and into my heart. I would like to think I could do this, but history has shown me by doing this people will see ‘IT’ for what it isn’t, perceive me for who I’m not, and then the nightmare will start over. It’s ironic that I write about judgement of me because I have depression but I so easily am making judgement on people I am yet to know! That’s what bullying, and people’s lack of understanding towards depression has done to me, to fear everything that I don’t know, because if I fear it, they won’t know me, and then hopefully they can’t hurt me.
So these are my fears at the moment, these are what threatens me at the top of the cliff, torturing me daily with the fear that them, along with my Black Dog will push me over into the depths of another depressive episode.