depression, mental health, mental health disorders, mental illness, suicude, wellness

Mental Illness and “Acting ” like we are FINE to the World Outside of our Bed

How many of you find that you are “acting your way” through the day? You know what I mean. You have to mask your mental illness to keep it a secret from others at work and social situations.

You feel depressed and have to go to work. People come by you and say “How are you?”  What do you say? I usually say “well I’m hanging in there” This is my best response even when I do not feel like I am hanging very well. I feel like my fingers are slipping off of whatever I a hanging onto. Someone greased the bar I am hanging onto and I am about to fall off.

But you can’t say that. You have to be FINE. Everyone must be fine to work or they do not trust you and consider you a threat to the status quo.

You act as best as you can that you are fine and try to get away from the conversation as fast as possible. You don’t want to make eye contact with anyone. You don’t want to string too many words together, for fear that you will say something to
“give yourself away.”

Then you get into a triggering situation at work (or in Dunkin Donuts) and you have to still be there. You have to pretend that the thoughts running through your head are not really there.

You try to tell your brain “Be quiet, I am trying to make a living here!” or “Wait until we get outside of the store to the car. I can’t have a mental breakdown right here at the cash register (or in the bank).

I wonder what all this forcing our true feelings down and telling our own brains to “shut up!” is doing to the disorganization of our brains? This must be damaging to the brain. The longer you have to fake things , the more the pressure builds inside. You are hiding like a child who broke a rule.

You feel degraded and invalidated. It is like our body (our mouth and voice) is invalidating our brain. Our minds and bodies are connected.  What happens to the connection when we want to cry but we force ourselves to make a fake laugh at someone’s triggering , stupid joke.

We are around insensitive people who have stigma against mental illness. We can’t let them know. We hide. We hide. We hide.

What is this doing to  further disorganize our brains?

There has to be some relief in between. I would like to hear your ideas about how you find relief from the
“faking it” mode. Pleases post in the comments below.

Mothers that take care of children, like me, also have to fake it. We have to play te role of good mother and have everything under control. I don’t think I do that so well anymore. I am a good mother but I don’t have a great flow mode, like normal brained mothers do.

It is hard to stay organized at work. You forget what someone just told you to do, one minute ago. You forget what needs to be done and sometimes how to do it.

It is  hard to keep track of time. it either feels too short or way way too long. Sometimes the time at work drags and drags and it is almost unbearable because you want to go lie down in your bed.

These things are hard. I go out to my car on my dinner break at work. Even if it is freezing cold outside , i go out and sit in my car. I have to have a break from the acting. I can not sit in the break room and chit chat about dumb stuff with the other girls, like where they bought their new purse.

The break is ok but then you have to go back to acting again. Some days are worse than others.  Are we inflicting our brains with abuse of forcing our emotions down? Just a thought…

How do you all deal with this?

Annie

9 thoughts on “Mental Illness and “Acting ” like we are FINE to the World Outside of our Bed”

    1. I understand how you feel. My feeling is that if children are loved then they will be okay. There are lots of kids that are in homes where the love is conditional or the parents are emotionally unavailable to them. Some kids grow up and their parents are never home because they are workaholics. Others have abusive parents.
      You and I love our children and we do the best we can. We are not perfect but sooner or later kids learn that their parents are not perfect and do not know everything. It is important that our kids have self esteem about themselves. If the parents appear as perfect then the kids might feel that they are failures in comparison and will never live up to their parent’s expectations.
      I am sure you love her and that she knows that. it is good for her to learn to do things to take care of herself anyway.
      Blessings to you,
      Annie

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Great post. I understand the feeling of having to hold it all together. Unfortunately, I have a habit of bottling everything up then exploding when there’s too much bottled up. I’d like to be able to hold it all together, but then let it out like later that night, but I haven’t been able to “bottle it up for a short period of time”.

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  2. Hi Annie, great question!
    Today was not a great day, but I still faked it well, though I was not pleased with my driving in the morning. My kids noticed I didn’t look happy, and that was all I gave away, I think. But what I do about forgetting things at work is as soon as I arrive, I rip off a piece of paper from a notepad and put it and two pens and one pencil on top of it. Every time I am given a task to do, or am waiting for someone to call me back or a customer to arrive, I write it down on that paper as a running list and cross the event off when it happens/is finished. Only when the entire list is crossed off do I take a new paper and start over. If it fills up, I copy over what is undone. Then the next day, that pending list is the first thing I see, and I remember what did not get done the day before.
    I use fiction and the internet to distract myself from intrusive memories or thoughts, and I find myself on a very short fuse if I am trying to escape reality by one of those methods and the kids are asking me for things or need my attention. So I should not indulge in reading or writing until they are in bed. But today I am here already, because my day was not so good. I am just going to get a breath and then get back to IRL.
    If I have a real issue I use a breathing technique to drop my heartrate. Best trick ever.
    I hope this helps.

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  3. Faking it is tough for me, but let’s face it: many times, I have to try, because I’m expected to be productive, and because very few people REALLY want to hear how I’m feeling. If I can, I try to run to the bathroom, just to try and breathe and be alone for a minute or two. That often helps. I also tend to say things like “I’m hanging in there.” For close friends and family, I’ll say “I’ve got good days and bad days.” They usually change the subject after that. But at least I’m not lying. I’m saying “I’m fine” when that’s not the truth.

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  4. I was taught (indirectly) from a young age that perkiness and smiles go a long way. as such, I made a point to *always* be smiling and fake happiness, even if I didn’t feel it. though on my worse days, it’s more difficult to hide, of course. nevertheless, I play the game.

    in most cases, my response to the “how are you” question is often doubled. I don’t like lying, so I won’t say that I’m fine or good if I’m not. rather, I respond with something funny and/or connotative — “woke up above ground, so that’s something”, “another day, another dollar”, “I’ve still got two legs, eh”, etc. I never tell the truth — I’m falling apart inside and am literally fighting off tears.

    until just recently, I would do a great job of holding in the pain or anger until I got home. and rather than lashing out, I would just drink it away. but due to life and stuff, I’m having to actually cope now, lol.

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    1. Life is so hard sometimes. When we already have mental pain, the problems of life make it worse. I wish I could say something that would help you. I try to “act” at work in order to keep my job. It is very hard sometimes. The fact that there are people here to talk to helps me a lot. I think that wordpress may have saved my life. It has definitely given me an outlet and a community of support. I hope it helps you too.
      Sometimes when I am at work, I think about coming home to be able to get onto wordpress. It is the one thing that helps me get through to the end of the shift and still keep up the “I am normal, like all of you” act .
      Blessings to you and thank you for reaching out and connecting with me
      Annie

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