I think I’ve always done it before depression took me hostage, I learned not to talk about myself, being in the hospitality industry, your customers really want to talk about themselves and drown their sorrows so you get used to making small talk and avoiding questions about yourself.
My stock answer would always be “I’m fine” with a huge smile that reminds me of those toothpaste ad’s when a full set of teeth are shown with a huge sparkle bouncing off them, and I would reply “how are things with you”.
They would always want to know about my home life if I had a boyfriend, what was going on with me, I’d smile trot out the usual vague response and turn things back to them.
Even with close friends I wasn’t as open as I probably should have been always thinking it best to hold something back, though sometimes I just wanted to scream and just avoided it.
When depression first hit,well I was in denial, and began to avoid people who were asking me if I was Ok, you have a kind of sixth sense here you just know they weren’t going to accept vague answers to their questions, so I avoided them sometimes to the extent of not speaking to them again, which I regret terribly, and have made some amends, but the friendships are never on the same footing as before.
As depression progressed I avoided everything:
opening the front door
only going out late at night
Going for days not speaking to anyone
Keeping the curtains drawn all day and night
Not answering the phone
When debt collectors came, actually lying on the floor until the knocking stopped
Not reading or responding to letters for various court dates, I had a huge black bag full of these missives that were going to change my life.
Sometimes I’d wait up to hour until the street was clear before I went out, and if I did see someone and we made eye contact I’d turn around and go back inside shaking, and again sitting there for ages until I plucked up the courage to go out again.
If I had to go out in daylight hours I’d take the most circular route imaginable just in case I’d bump into someone I knew, even worse if a friend called out my name I’d start running, of course making it obvious that I heard them why else take off like that, it sadly became a lifestyle and a habit hard to break.
The whole things just sounds mad doesn’t it, I mean you can’t actually run away from yourself, well allegedly, but I’d put so much effort into it, it was exhausting, eventually when forced to deal with several issue especially those of the mortgage company I’d sit there bathed in sweat, my lips cracking as I tried to speak coherently and being surrounded by all these people jut made me want to vomit.
I’m glad to say I’m much better in that area although there are some people who can set me off so I actively avoid them, only because they tend to get into my space and frankly I find them intrusive.
There’s a woman I know who is going through a hard time, her husband is recovering from a stroke, and as much as I’m willing to talk and listen, she unfortunately sets off all kinds of triggers in me, and I have to well avoid her, well yesterday she realised that I’m staying about 2 minutes from where she lives and she tried to insist that she come in for a chat and coffee, even after I explained that I couldn’t let her in, it’s not my place, she got very pushy, almost demanding that I invited her in, she had her hand on my arm which made me feel a little trapped, I shrugged her off and said no, by the time I got upstairs I was shaking.
She is a nice lady and I really do sympathise, but I can’t be that friend for her, I’ve a feeling she’ll just cling on and suck me dry, and I cannot go down the route of being and emotional sponge for others again, I feel badly for that, and know that I have to be very mindful of my own emotional well being.
I’ve started colouring again, here’s what I did today