The Photogenic Face of Depression

Ever heard the phrase “You don’t look like you have depression” or even “What have you got to be depressed about?”

As if depression has this stylised look that is recognisable or a person has to have something to be depressed about. Maybe a depressed person should have the black sweepy hair, fingerless black gloves, heavy black eyeliner and studded chokers. Too stereotypical? Well… maybe someone with depression must have a deathly disease or some other awful circumstance in their life that they have a reason to feel depressed about? Maybe.

Or maybe Depression is simply something that unfortunately comes to the people who on the outlook look happy and cheerful, and seemingly have their lives together, but they have this uncontrollable low feeling that they can’t shake despite good stuff happening.

My parents and I suspect I have depression. It isn’t serious by any stretch of imagination and it’s not something I’m going to seek medicinal intervention for because I feel I am coping without it. However it does effect the way I build relationships, my motivation to do things and also generally the way I interact with people.

I have said previously that I work as a Front of House Team Member (and Part Time Management) in a restaurant. You have to pretend and become someone else when your in this job. If you’re not charismatic, funny or a salesperson, you have to become each one of them to do well. Outside of my job, I’m not a socialite. I endeavor to keep out of the way and stay in the quiet as much as possible. This may have been evident in my previous posts. I’m worried that the people around me don’t really want me there and that I’m essentially just a ‘cling-on’.

I’ve talked with my parents to possibly reduce my hours at work just because I feel exhausted by both the hours and also from just feeling down almost all the time. I’d like to think people see me as happy, talkative and maybe a little eccentric at times. When I come home and I’m in my bedroom with everyone asleep and my brain won’t switch off, that’s when I’m the most low.

Depression isn’t something that has a look or is circumstantial. I mean, Robyn Williams also known as Mrs. Doubtfire or as Alan Parish, suffered from Depression and he was a comedian! Did he look like he had depression?

Depression is this horrible clinging shadow that doesn’t disappear when the sun goes behind the clouds. It puts a horrible twist into everything and doesn’t let up. I dropped out of University cause of Insomnia and (I now suspect) Depression. I vividly remember a friend telling me to go the doctors and getting depression tablets while there because I wasn’t sleeping, stressing so much about my Uni work and just not wanting to come out of the four walls of my bedroom.

I was then called into a meeting with my Course Leaders because I was failing that year. I couldn’t keep up with my work load. I was missing lectures because of Insomnia and because I simply couldn’t leave my room. The good days was when no-one was in the house I was staying because it meant I didn’t have to face anyone. It was then that my Course Leader suggested my suspending my year and possibly returning at the start of the next year.

I didn’t. 

I left University with a Level 4 University Qualification in Illustration.

Depression isn’t just one type of person and that one type of person doesn’t have depression. I smile a lot. I joke a lot. I try and make other people around me feel happy. I’d like to think I’m polite. I’m not moody. I’m not crying every 5 minutes. I don’t want to kill myself. I don’t think the worlds out to get me. I don’t hide my face under a hood or behind a mop of hair.

Depression is just little old me. Depression my friend at work who doesn’t think I realise. Depression is my close family who I see everyday who doesn’t realise I notice their sudden mood changes when certain other people come around. Depression is me, who despite trying to be happy and cheerful for others, feels alone and sad almost all the time.

Don’t stylise depression when depression isn’t an Instagram Filter. We smile, we say hello, we act normal. Don’t think that surface water is as deep as we go.