In the wild, animals hide their pains, injuries, and illnesses so that they won’t be dinner for various carnivourous megafauna. As humans, we’d like to think we are different, but this is so not the case. Especially for those of us with invisible disabilities. Although we’re entitled to accommodations, we still try REALLY hard to act normal. Crazy people especially (such as moi) have to behave impeccably well to not be percieved as lacking in the skills and wherewithall to get through life. If our disability is getting obvious, or we’re starting to have a breakthrough episode, it gets really hard. It’s not so much that people care what you’re thinking or feeling, it’s that people want your behavior to not interfer with their lives. Also, if you’re in deep emotional pain, you could get passed over for that promotion, that job, that apartment, etc etc. People don’t like to be around crazy people because either a) they don’t know how to deal with a crazy person, or b) they think you’ll kill them.
Not only that, but to be publically identifiable as someone dealing with mental health issues means you’re also prey for any of the millions of human predators out there, be they sexual predators, violent predators, or even a certain dude I know who twice tried to steal my apartment and possessions and toss me into the street. You get stuck in slum housing in a rough neighborhood working a low paying job, or worse, living on the meager amounts disability pays. I think stigma plays a huge role in the fact that a large number of people with mental health issues are living on the streets or in rundown buildings.
And then you might want to survive by not telling anyone that you have an invisible disability. But what about the sick days you’ll have to take at some point when meds need to be changed? Or if you have to go to the hospital? What about that uncomfortable abusive feeling you get when someone starts talking shit about crazy people?
I’m still coming out of a depressive episode, a rather mild one really, but still totally fucked and horrid. But I only thought about suicide for one hour, and that was a new record for me. Unfortunately I did think about cutting, which is something I’ve only ever done once five years ago. I still feel pretty crummy, and I know it will be another week before I’m operating at full capacity. So I wear the happy face. Not because I am happy, or that I feel I should be happy, but just because if it looks like my episode is as bad as it really is people will get pissed off and I’ll probably get hassled a lot by people who want me to snap out of it.
It’s just a survival strategy, don’t show weakness.