Like many with mental illness, I will always put on a brave face when I am at work or with people who are not in my inner circle. It is what I call the “I’ve got it together” look. I guess, everyone does that a little bit, whether you have a mental illness or not. Especially at work, you want to demonstrate to your boss and colleagues that you are a viable part of the team and that you deserve that salary. A few years back, I thought I kind of still “got it together” at work despite suffering some major anxiety from some health and personal issues. To me, I thought I was doing ok.
Fast foward to today, and I am chatting to one of my coworkers who knows about my mental illness. She told me that she felt I have really “blossomed” in the last few years and that I looked so much more relaxed lately. We often refer to mental illness as an invisible illness, but I realized no matter how I tried, it is impossible to completely hide it. We often imagine how we project ourselves to the world, but we really don’t know how others see you until they tell you. So is it even worth hiding your mental state? I don’t think anyone could live with all their emotional states in full view all the time. However, I really don’t think it is necessary to be smiling and pretending to be ok all time. Everyone has their ups and downs and to bottle all that up is certainly not healthy.