We can look fine on the face of it. Even those more familiar with the various shades of our face might not even be able to tell. Feelings don’t always write themselves all over our faces. Yes, looking fine and feeling fine are worlds apart.
Day in day out, we work and we play. We socialise and we stay home. We read, we write, we talk, and we listen. We function and we function well, doing our jobs as our employers expect, smiling and laughing with friends. Enjoying ourselves.
How often, though, are these looks deceptive?
How often would those closest be surprised to see what’s going on inside?
At work, competent and collected, no one would suspect a thing. There’s no evidence, you see. No sign that it took twenty minutes to leave the house. No sign that the oven, turned off more than twelve hours earlier, sucked minutes and minutes of time and kept presenting itself as a thought, a chilling thought, of gas pouring through the house and flames and guilt, slowing your departure. And no one would know because you’re so rarely late. The time to check long built in to your day.
With friends, in the middle of it all, catching up and sharing news, there is no clue. No clue that a conversation finished five minutes ago is going round and round and round your head. No clue of the furious scolding going on inside for that stupid comment or that too loud a laugh. You look just fine; you feel terrible; and you are probably somewhere in between.
Depression is not all individuals, head in hands, back against the wall. OCD is not all clean surfaces and cups all facing the same way.
Depression, anxiety, whatever it may be don’t look like any one thing. They are not a constant that force you to limp off the playing field until you’ve stretched it off and are ready to return fighting fit. They don’t manifest themselves in any one or in any constant way. You can look just fine without feeling it. You can be just fine without look it. We are complex. The way we look and feel and are aren’t always correlated.
We get good at getting on with it, that’s all – strong on the surface, unsteady below.