Strong.

What it feels to be hidden behind a mask of strength

When I was first diagnosed with my mental diagnosis, I was told to not tell anyone I was being treated and on medication. This created a problem within me because I was never the one to hide my emotions. It got to the point where I would get extremely frustrated with myself. I was compressing every single emotion I felt.

When I finally decided to tell people about what happened to me, I couldn’t stop. I found myself oversharing as a coping mechanism. Once I started I didn’t want to stop; I did it way too often. I would tell my whole class information that they did not need to know and it got to the point where people accused me of faking or making up stories.

I remember feeding off of the adrenaline I received from telling people things I once felt like I had to hide. I felt strong. I felt powerful. I felt free. This opened a lot of doors to people bullying me. I had a lot of hate accounts made about me and a lot of people making accusations towards me.

Luckily, with time, I got better with who I trusted, and I became more wary about what I shared.

Now, as someone who has been seeking help through the form of therapy,I have learned a few things. One of which being, I tend to bottle up my sincere emotions behind a mask of strength. What this means is that I tell myself I have to be okay, due to the fact that I have been told numerous times I am strong.

This “strong” mentality is a reputation that I have put an immense amount of pressure on myself to fulfill. I will occasionally post my mental health issues as a way for reassurance, which tends to leave my Direct Messages flooding with people telling me their story. Ultimately, this leads to a ton of pressure on myself to be there for those who are going through the same things I did or am, despite it deteriorating mental health.

I feel like I always have to be okay for others; I need to be okay in certain moments. This mentality has jeopardized my own mental health and relationships, which is something I have to personally fix. The bottom line is that I should not feel obligated to be there for people, especially when my mental health is not at the best.

In no way am I saying I wish people wouldn’t trust me with their stories. I just need to learn when to take a step back and how to not get emotionally invested. I have finally acknowledged that this was draining to me; therefore, I can get better within time.

With that being said, I will continue to document my journey of learning that it’s okay to not be okay all the time.

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Emily Perdue

Emily Perdue

Hi my name is Emily! I am passionate about mental health awareness and would love to share my story with you all!