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An everyday life with mental difficulties is no joke, and it does not get better to feel that you have to hide how you feel. Many people therefore wear a mask. The fake self. The smiling I.

Image: Dreamstime (with licence)

This is the theme of a guest post by the woman behind the blog Speak with words. Here you read the whole post:

The mask. The fake self. It made me smile. The "I'm tough-brained" style. The side of you that everyone wants to see. The mask. It's tiring to wear. It requires a lot of energy. I have to hide behind it.

No one needs to see how I really feel. No one must see me weak… I hide behind a mask.

Virtually every single day. I'm smiling. Greetings to people. Stops to turn off a chat. Smiles. Laughs a little too. Tells about how bright the future looks. Tells about things as if it was «perfect». Tells it like life was a dance on red roses…

Behind the mask hides so much. No dancing on red roses. More like a dance on thorns. A shadow of darkness. Gloom. Heavy loads. Inner wounds and tears. Shame. Guilt. No joy. Emptiness. Vulnerability. Insecurity. Doubt. Tenderness. Hurt. Pain. 

The inside is torn to pieces while I stand there smiling. Tears roll inside as I laugh. Pain spreads over my body as I talk about my bright future. Insecurity creeps under my skin as I stand there and have a conversation. But no one should see that side of me. I tell them I'm going well, but the truth is, I'm not doing well at all. 

In a way, it's all a little "fake", but at the same time a little "real". I want to be this person that I show to others. I want the mask to match the inside. I do not want others to see that I am struggling.

I do not want them to feel sorry for me (although sometimes it would have been a little good). I do not want others to see me weak. I want them to see the "perfect" me. 

Wearing the mask is exhausting. Incredibly tiring. Very demanding. I quickly get tired of pretending. Completely drained of energy. If I wear the mask for too long, I get ill, bedridden or something like that.

In a way, it's okay to get ill, because then I can actually say that I'm not in shape for this and that. Then I will not have a bad conscience to lie. There's a little truth in that. And people understand it. They understand that if you have the flu, then you are tired and do not have the stamina needed.

But if I were to tell the truth, that I do not have the strength due to mental illness, then most people will probably not understand… Then the mask must be used… 

The mask is on. Daily. And the inside is well hidden. No one should know. No one should see my weakness… They see me smile. "Faking a smile". 

- From the blog Speak with words

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