Sunday, 16 November 2014

Telling the Truth




Coming to University I had the idea in my head that I could start afresh. No one would know me from the days of first school and middle school, when I had been a chubby frizzy haired child. Or the days of high school where I had gone through various hair cuts and colours,  gone from introvert, to extrovert and back round again. And then there was there was my health, no one would even know I had been sick; no one would know about my illness.

But I had never really considered what it would be like living with people, trying to get to know them whilst keeping such a huge part of my life a secret. I couldn't think of what to say if people had asked where I had been, when the real answer was 'At the doctors'. Telling someone you have been to the docotrs once is fine, but when someone asks you and it is the third time that week, what do you say? I had never truley thought about the amount of secrets I would have to keep, or how hard it would be to pretend I was ok, when all I felt like doing was sliding down onto the floor and staying there.

So I told my flat, I openly told them I was going to the doctors, that I had mental health problems and that sometimes I was just not ok. And they were great about it, for people I had only known a few weeks they were kind and supportive, and most importantly, they still treat me exactly the same. I have never been so grateful, or so releived. I had built up this horrible scenario in my head when really if I had just been honest, things would have been a lot better.

But there are still people I don't know how to act around, what to say and what to do when I am feeling so god damn awful. I worry that people from my course just think I am aloof and stand offish, head down, not talking, trying desperately to fight with my feelings when to the outside world I look like I just don't care. When infact more than anything I care; I am desperate to make friends, and to know people so well that they won't care if I get sad sometimes, or will help me with work when I have been too sick to understand it myself. But currently terror has stopped me from making friends, people on my course barely remember my name, let alone talk to me on a regular basis. I can pretend that I just haven't met the right people yet, and that it is their fault for not wanting to be friends with me, but deep down I know that my own fears and anxiety are holding me back.

Then there are times when you start to know someone a little better than all the rest. You hang out more and more, and talk about anything and everything, except one thing. People aren't generally taught how to react to or help someone who suffers from mental health problems, and when it comes down to that one person who you really want to like you for you, all of you, it becomes so much harder to tell them the truth.

Part of me wants to just take the plunge, to say no when someone asks me if everything is ok. To say how I am feeling and feel comfortable and safe in doing it. But part of me is still so afriad, afraid of what people will think or say, afraid that they then won't want to be my friend anymore, spend time with me, or even date me. I am so terrified of people knowing the real me, all of me, that I am making myself all the more miserable. And quite frankly, I still don't know whether I will tell people when I am not ok, instead of smiling and faking a laugh. I am still not sure whether my pride will let anyone, even my flat mates, watch me burst into tears and crumple onto the floor. That's just not how I want my new life to be defined, and try as I might, it will always be what people remember.
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