“I’m Tired.”

“I’m just tired.”

When people ask you what’s wrong, that’s what you say.

You say I’m tired.

Like you just didn’t get enough sleep last night. Like maybe if you get a couple extra hours tonight, or rest up this weekend, you’ll be better on Monday.

But deep down, deep beneath all the fake smiles and the jokes you make to lighten the mood, you know that’s not it.

You might be tired, yes, but you know sleep won’t fix it.

Because it’s life you’re tired of. You’re tired of getting lost in your own head, of drowning in the thoughts and self doubts that pester you every second of every day, while you fight to keep your head above the tides.

Those same tides that threaten to wash away the makeup you carefully paint on every day so you look more like a person and less like a hollow shell of who you used to be.

Can’t they see that what you’re really tired of is pretending? How do they not notice that your porcelain smile is chipping more every day, your body armor has dents in it, your face paint is running, and the rivers in your eyes are bursting the dams you so carefully construct so as not to drown everyone around you.

So when they ask you, “Are you OK?” you just say “I’m tired.” Because you believe it’s the only way to keep them safe as you self-destruct on the inside, the only way to protect them from the disaster that is you. You believe you have to lie so the ones you love don’t look too close.

But you’re so, so tired.

And that’s OK. If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that it’s OK to be tired sometimes. “Normal,” even. And you don’t always have to have a reason. Because sometimes just keeping it together is exhausting.

When you feel like this, it’s important to know you’re not alone. You are not the only one who feels this way.

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“I’m Tired.”

What I Wish I Could Say, On Bad Days.

I’m not okay.

I wish I could say this. I want to so many times. When asked how I am. Instead my knee jerk response is “Yeah you?”And then I immediately segue into talking about you. Asking how you are. What you have been up to. Steering as far away from the subject of me as I can get. Because I don’t want to ruin a good conversation, because I don’t want to make it awkward, because I don’t want talking to me to be a burden. Because I want everyone to believe I am the strong invincible woman I pretend to be. Because I don’t want to seem weak and needy. Because I don’t want to cry. Because I don’t want to dwell on the awful fog that shrouds my brain making everything 50 times harder and much more exhausting. Because I think if I can convince myself it’s a good day, then the fog will blow away.

You see I can be fine, truly fine then it’s just like a switch goes off and all of a sudden I’m not fine, I’m not okay, I’m left with darkness in my mind that is all consuming. I forget how to smile, how to laugh, how to feel anything except the emptiness. I can’t connect with anyone on bad days, it’s like a fast rushing river runs between me and everybody else and even though I really do try, I just can’t cross it. Sometimes I become so engulfed in the brain fog that I completely shut down, stare blankly at something for much too long and won’t speak all day, I do the barest amounts I have to, I won’t shower, I won’t eat, or I’ll eat too much. Light seems too bright, sounds are too loud and the fatigue is hell. This exhaustion is not something simply resolved by sleeping, it’s soul deep. I seem lazy, the house is a mess I’m a mess I’ve done nothing all day because I’m just so tired, so severely overwhelmed with everything that even the smallest tasks seem like mountains.

Depression is cruel, there are no fevers, no rashes, no blood tests. Just the slow erosion of self, as insidious as cancer. And like cancer, it is essentially a solitary experience. A room in hell with only your name on the door.  I have been doing better recently, tablets are helping, I answer more honestly now if I’m not okay, it’s hard and shameful but cathartic. Bad days are few and far between, but always lurking on the periphery.

I am okay, and sometimes I’m not, but that’s okay to.

I must also have a dark side if I am to be whole.’ – Carl Jung.

What I Wish I Could Say, On Bad Days.