I’ve figured out why I can’t be around people when I’m depressed. The silence is oppressive. Not their silence, but mine. Depression effectively kills off even the most valiant attempts at conversation, and I cannot handle the resulting empty air space.
I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to figure this out. I used to think it was because I felt awkward at putting people in such a difficult position, and that’s certainly part of it. But there’s more. When I’m trapped in that silent space, Bitchface (remember her?) pops up and spends the entire time roaring at me that whoever I’m sharing the silence with – be it Hubby, friends, family, even colleagues – is really, really angry with me. Not only are they angry with me, they’re disappointed in me for letting this happen again, and really resent having to be around me when I’m like this. They tolerate me because they have to, but that’s it, given the choice they’d be anywhere else. The last thing they want to do is ask how I am, because they’re tired of listening. All of this makes me painfully self conscious, to the point of being physically clumsy, so I actively avoid contact with people.
I wonder would it help at all if I were to think of this as a really shitty, aggressive virus? Something like a bad flu. Comes on gradually at first, then grabs hold and pulls you down to the depths but beyond taking care of yourself physically, there’s not much more you can do other than ride it out. Antibiotics won’t work. Fighting it won’t work. It has to get worse before it can get better. But eventually it does get better, despite the lingering effects that can sometimes hang around for quite a lot longer than we’d like……..I wouldn’t berate myself for getting the flu, it just happens. No one else would berate me for it either. So why does this feel so different?
I don’t know. I’m a massive pain in my face right now, and I suspect reading this is giving you a massive pain in yours. What I most want right now is to be left alone, although whether or not that’s the best thing for me is open to debate. I’m going to hedge my bets and keep hiding. Don’t be offended if I don’t answer the phone.