Masking Depression

Comedy and Drama MasksRecognize these masks? Well whether you know them or not, I am going to give you a mini history lesson. These masks are called, “Theater Masks” a.k.a. the “Comedy and Tragedy Masks.” These masks were worn in ancient Greece during the Golden Age around 500-300 B.C. Their real names are Thalia (the Comedy Mask) and Melpomene (the Tragedy Mask); they are named after two muses of the Greek mythology. The reason why the masks were given an exaggerated look was to help distant viewers see the characters. Actors back then typically played more than one character. So if an actor had to play another role, all he had to do was change masks.depression mask

These notable masks known throughout the world are now going to define my depression. Sometimes, I am able to display my happy face. However, most of time it’s my depressed face. It takes a lot of effort to put on my happy face when I am depressed. It’s like I have to prep myself before I go out to into the public. If I forget to do so, I will have people asking me: “Why do you look so sad?” or “Why are you so serious?” If I hear those words, it’s a sign that I forgot to put on my happy face. Then I say to myself, “Crap! Quickly! Look happy, look happy!” Then I shoot the onlookers a smile to dispel any doubts of what they may have about me. Then of course, they smile in content. Sigh…I wish I can smile to myself the same way I smile to others. I wish I could feel my smile the same way others do. Smiling is a tedious task to me when I am depressed. In fact, when I smile it hurts. It feels like as there are weights on my face. However, when I am working and I feel this way… aaugh! It’s frustrating! Let me give you an image of what my days are like with depression at work:

 

Inner Conflict

It feels so painful. It’s especially painful when people want to sit with me at lunch and I prefer to stay away from them. I just don’t want people to see me when I am depressed. I  don’t want them to have to see the emptiness within me. I am afraid of what they might see or do if they find out. I feel horrible enough already. But you know…that’s why I am glad I have my family. I can be myself whether I am depressed or not. However, if I do get depressed they will help cheer me up. Whether I see them in-person or hear from them over the phone, it’s always a pleasure knowing they have my back. The depression symptoms don’t feel as bad when I am with them. And most importantly, I can be real with them. It’s the only time I can feel whole with them. No masks, no nothing…And there’s no place I’d rather be than with the people I love.

 

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