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Mental Health

When it all gets too much / Keeping a facade.

Okay, so I skipped a post yesterday, half cause I had to socialise, half because my mind got the better of me and I couldn’t function.

To explain this, the morning was spent feeling like I did Saturday and the afternoon/evening was spent getting ready and socialising even though in all honesty.. I didn’t want to. I mentally wasn’t ready to.

First few hours I was okay, I was actually kinda enjoying it.. But then it was getting too much and there came the facade, the mask. The pretending to feel the same that I did even though inside I was feeling low, I was struggling and wanted to go curl up in bed. I only really picked up how bad I truly felt was when I went outside with the boys for a smoke..

I already knew my head was going a million miles a minute but It felt like it was spinning, I felt my heart racing. I noticed I was just spacing out when people were talking. This forced me to put my mask on harder… Until I privately messaged my husband asking him if its okay if I run off. Luckily the housemate picked up too and made up an excuse for me. So I could just go to bed and hide away in peace whilst they hung out downstairs.

To be fair.. I did enjoy it at first. It got too much. It was exhausting to keep up with others. Exhausting to pretend to be okay when I’m not for the sake of others. I put my mask on anyway though. I pretend to feel happy, to be fully engaged and enjoying something when I am not. When I’m suffering inside and need to be alone. It’s hard…

This brings me onto today’s topic though. The facade that we use, the mask that we wear to not burden others.

I generally explained what this was earlier and have done in previous blog posts. But a general summary for what it is for me is that… when I’m low, when I’m on the verge of breakdown.. When I generally don’t feel comfortable or I’m just generally not okay and I’m around others… I’ll put up this facade or as I like to call it. I put on my mask. You know? When you say you’re ‘fine’ and that everything’s ‘okay’. Where you put on this fake smile and push out these false laughs. Where you pretend to be happy, pretend to be engaged with everything going on. Pretend to be enjoying everything. I do that. A lot. Pretty much everyday if I’m honest. I did it and well, still do it so I don’t worry anyone around me. So I’m not a problem. So I’m not their burden and so I’ll be left alone.

It’s not a healthy coping mechanism/learned behaviour. I guess it kind of helped lead me to my breakdown as I was essentially bottling everything up. However, as I called it a coping mechanism as well as a learned behaviour cause for me… that’s what it is. It’s a learned behaviour from the things that I have been through. Keep everything in, keep to myself. Pretend to be happy pretend to enjoy myself and everything will be okay. The learned behaviour for me, seems to have turned and twisted itself into some sort of sad coping mechanism so I don’t have to open up about what’s going on in my head… It stops me from opening up my wounds verbally and to me sometimes is the only reason people put up with me is because I’m so good at pretending to be happy, to be this party animal… to be this person that I’m not.

This ‘person’ has become this mask that I put on. She loves to party, she jokes, she smiles at everything. She’ll laugh at anything and everything. It’s all forced. It’s all fake. It’s not enjoyable feeling like I’m having to live behind this mask of this made up person in order to just about cope around other people. Again though, to me, it’s easier, it’s an automatic response. Practically like my body and mind know no other way of coping. Like if I just stopped this, people would get fed up of me and leave.

I guess that’s partially true. Those that don’t understand or don’t care will leave and that’s their choice. Those that do care.. will stay but it will be a lot for them. mental illness isn’t something that people can just understand. It’s complex and it affects everyone in different ways. Everyone has their own quirks, their own triggers, own coping mechanisms, symptoms everything.

This however, is something I feel that people in general have and will do. Not just those like myself suffering from a mental illness. You might not even notice that you do this. I didn’t at first until I felt myself inside screaming I do not like this. I want out. Stop, please stop. Please leave this situation. why are you laughing? No you don’t want another drink you want to GO HOME. Yet my body didn’t respond to how I felt. That’s when I started picking up on this. It wasn’t fun. It’s an example. Just like the start of today’s post… You keep yourself in these situations because of others. You don’t have to. You don’t have to pretend. You don’t have to hide. Your mind just tells you that you do.

Like everything else though… just stopping is easier said than done.. but I guess i’ll break this habit someday and we’ll take it one day at a time…

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– Gem

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Hi! I'm Gemma, a mental health and recovery journey blogger! My blog focuses on the effects of mental illness and the entire recovery process.

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