Nobody will let me change.
In my teens, I started to notice I wasn’t as happy as my friends, and my wardrobe took a dark turn toward various shades of black (such as black, blacker, and blackest).
In my 20s, the color scheme of my wardrobe experienced a bit of a jolt (but nothing drastic), and I felt less like someone just killed my dog. (I haven’t had a dog since I was 11. Relevant? Probably not.)
In my 30s (I know, this part has to be fictional since I’m 29… in my mind), I regressed a bit with my wardrobe and my mood. Whatever fun and optimism I found in my 20s kind of… died. (I just realized that this coincides with something else in my life. I don’t think I realized the parallel until just now. I have no idea how I missed it.)
Throughout my life, I’ve tried to hide the extent of my psychological fucked-up-ness from my family. (In this context, I’m referring to my mom, sisters, and extended family.) I’ve been pretty successful with that. Not sure if that’s a good thing, but it doesn’t even matter. I was, and will forever be, seen as the dark, depressed one. The girl who’s never happy. The girl who would never consider wearing anything other than black, very dark grey, or when she’s feeling wild, navy blue.
Wardrobe concerns aside, I am fucking frustrated.
How can I make progress with my depression when everyone expects me to be depressed and sees me that way no matter how I feel? How can I make progress when my depression is largely dismissed as “normal for Sandra“?
There is nothing normal about feeling the way I do.
My depression is not a topic of conversation. It’s sort of swept aside. No one wants to talk about it because they don’t know how to deal with it. It makes them uncomfortable. Yet they associate it so closely with me that it’s the equivalent of a running joke.
Depression is no joke. And it’s become impossible for me to dissociate myself from it.
I can’t seem to feel better around my family even if I feel better on my own because they assume Sandra and depression are synonymous. No wonder I feel like depression has become my entire identity! Is that really all people think when they think of me? If I’m feeling better, I hate that I have to fight to convince my family of that. In fact, I don’t bother.
I have an illness, and it feels like my family doesn’t want me to get better. I know (hope) that’s not true, but that’s how it feels. Do they not realize that their constant association of me with depression is making me worse? That it’s making me feel like I *have to* be depressed? Do they not pay attention to anything else about me? Why not associate me with reading or writing or designing or just generally being really smart and funny? I mean, they do associate me with those things a little, but nothing like they do with depression.
And when they do tie me so closely to my depression, they don’t use that association for good. They don’t ask me how I’m doing. They don’t offer to talk if I need to talk. (Well, my mom has.) Instead, they look at me with what appears to be pity, and they avoid the topic like the plague. They treat it like something forbidden. They make me feel like it’s something to be ashamed of.
Why, you may wonder, don’t I talk to them about this? Oh, because I know (without a shred of doubt) exactly how that conversation would go. “You’re being ridiculous.” “We don’t think that.” “You’re imagining things.” “We don’t treat you that way.” “It’s all in your head.”
I wonder if it will matter if I get better. Everyone will always see me as the dark, depressed one anyway.
Maybe I need to start wearing pink.
• • • • •
My boys will love me no matter what I wear. Or don’t wear.
p.s. — Black really is my favorite color.
p.p.s. — At this point in my life, I don’t know how to wear anything lighter or brighter than medium grey. I look fucking weird. I tried on something in a brighter shade of blue last week. It matched my eyes. It was very pretty. And I looked like a clown. If I can’t get over it, how could anyone else? I cannot even imagine wearing something pink. I think pigs would fly. At least I’d match them.