I work in HR. Part of my job is to give disappointing news to people. Sorry, your background check hasn’t returned. Sorry, we’ll need to postpone your start date. Sorry, we will not be moving forward with your application at this time. I give disappointing news on a somewhat regular basis. I don’t have a problem disappointing those people.
However, if I feel like I am disappointing people in my life outside of work? That takes a toll on me and where I am in my mental health.
- I need to be liked.
- I’m scared that others will judge my abilities.
- What if they think I don’t care/don’t like them?
- I’m going to make someone angry.
- They won’t agree with me.
- I won’t be able to defend my thought process about certain things.
- People won’t respect me.
My mind automatically jumps to the worst-case scenario… why won’t they answer the phone? They must hate me. Why does this person want to talk to me? They must be mad at me. What if they think I’m making mistakes? They’re not going to want to be my friend. If they knew the truth about me, they are going to stop talking to me.
Because of all of these thoughts that run through my head constantly, I don’t share. I will bend over backwards to make sure that I don’t have those moments come into my life. Want me to do something? Sure! Want me to make a commitment to help you? Sure! Ask for help? Nope…I don’t want to inconvenience you. Want me to tell you when I need support? No, I don’t want you to see my weakness and disappoint you.
I am terrified that you will see me as a disappointment. I am afraid that you won’t see my effort and think that I purposely disappointed you.
The other day a friend was having a particularly rough day. We had been talking via texting all day. I called her on my way home. She sent me directly to voicemail. I was devastated. Rather than thinking the logical things of she was still at work or that she wasn’t in the headspace to talk, I took it personally. I must have offended her when I was texting with her. She must be mad at me. She obviously hates me now because she’s avoiding my call.
I literally went from being in a great mood to crying in an instant. I got home, gave my kids a hug, and went to my room. It was 5:30pm. My kids took care of me and made sure that they knew that they loved me. I took a xanax and tried to calm down.
Ridiculous? Yes. A fairly “normal” reaction for me? Yes. It’s exhausting. I don’t share this side of myself with others.
Moments like this are what remind me that the dark side of depression isn’t that far away. It’s like it is just on the other side of the door and I’m just waiting for something to help me open the door. I could easily open the door and be in that known place…that comfortable place that feels like home in some ways.