Mask Off


By: Andrea

So, for several years, too many to count, every day was exactly the same (just about).  Same routine.  I’d wake up, turn my first alarm off, go back to sleep, then wake up to turn my second alarm off (I’m not a morning person, can you tell?).  After about 20 minutes of lying there, I would finally kick myself out of bed and stumble to the bathroom.  Wash face, brush teeth, wash my hands, put my contacts in and get ready to apply “the mask”.  Ah, the mask!  First, was foundation primer, then concealer, then my foundation (side note, I learned it was better to put the foundation on first and then concealer…I was lost putting on makeup and didn’t even know it!).  Next, my eyebrows, eye liner, mascara and Carmex (I didn’t get into lipstick until much later).  Then I’d do something with my hair, something CUTE, and off to work I’d go.  The 8 hour work day would go by as it always did.  Maybe a few hiccups here and there, nothing I couldn’t handle.  Then I’d workout, come home, eat, watch some television, take my mask off and bedtime.

You’re probably wondering why I’m giving you a rundown of what appears to be a very dull, ordinary day-to-day.  Trust me, I’m getting there.  I didn’t realize how much my life was a constant cycle that every day, while the routine was the same, it did not seem to bring me much joy or happiness or even pleasure.  But I thought it was!  I was convinced.  I had convinced myself and other people that I was living a perfectly content, happy life full of excitement.  But, unbeknownst to me, behind the makeup and the cute hairstyles I was actually sad.

There would be moments where I would be completely happy, laughing, talking, in a state of bliss.  Then the next minute I would become moody, sad, and depressed.  Then the tears would come.  Anything could trigger it.  I could be thinking about my life, no matter how routine or ordinary it was, I wasn’t content with it in that moment.  I didn’t want to talk to my friends, my family, and forget about going outside!  I was depressed.  When I would hear the word depressed I would think of someone completely sad and miserable, hopeless and at the lowest point of their life.  I did not think that could be me because I figured that I was severely moody yet happy person.  Is that oxymoronic?

Depression is a disorder that affects your feelings, thoughts and actions.  Knowing the signs is a step towards fighting it.

  • Mood swings
  • Sleep
  • Appetite
  • Lack of concentration

Once I realized I had some if not all signs all at once I knew I had to do something to make myself feel better.  I’m getting to that point shortly.

Combined with depression, I combated anxiety.  Anxiety is where you have feelings of fear, nervousness, and worry.  For me, the anxiety would come when I felt overwhelmed and weighed down.  It could be work, family, friends, anything!  I would get extremely exhausted from being “on” all the time for everyone and not really doing anything to heal myself.  I would even suffer anxiety attacks where I would have a feeling of intense fear, worry and nervousness, causing a change in my body.  I would start to feel very cold then warm, my heart would palpitate and my head would start to spin.  I wouldn’t be able to make out what I was saying because my head would be so full and clouded.  And forget about making out coherent sentences, I would be a blubbering mess!  I asked myself so many times, “what the hell is wrong with you?” No reply (or that would mean I had SERIOUS problems).  When I lost my brother some years ago, I never healed from it.  Everyone thought I was ok because my mask was so convincing, so pretty, so welcoming, that they could not see a person suffering behind the foundation lines.  I was busy taking care of a mother and father that lost their only son, their first born, and a niece who lost her father and first love.  Who was I to feel sad in that moment when they needed more of the healing?  But grieving is grieving, no matter the lost.  I had to learn that.  Once I did, I managed to deal with it.

It took years to realize that I was suffering from anxiety and mild depression.  I never wanted to admit it.  Never wanted to accept the fact that something was wrong with me.  It was something that I hid from myself and other people.  I didn’t want the attention; people coming up to me asking, “Is everything ok?” “How are you feeling?” Some may think, “Well you just told the world, or at least the people who care to read this, that you have anxiety issues.  What do you expect people to say at this point?”  It’s not so much expectation but more so truth.  I want people to see me and take my clairvoyance for what it is, truth.  There have been too many stories cropping up lately of people committing suicide, locking their truths inside and unable to let people hear their voices and see the clouds looming over them.  There may be others who are hiding behind their own “masks” and not knowing what to do with the mood swings, dark feelings, fears, loneliness, and numbness.

Ways that I combat my anxiety are:

  • Write
  • Workout
  • Read
  • Color/Paint
  • Clean/Organize
  • Shop (make sure you have the money…it can get real!)
  • Pray/Meditate
  • Listen to music
  • Knit/Sew

It’s one thing to feel locked in your own thoughts and feel like you are a prisoner.  It’s another to be true to yourself, and others, to remove the feelings and things that cause the rifts and stirs in our minds.  There’s no point in suffering in silence.  I may have my silly moments (too many at times) but there is nothing silly about anxiety or depression.  Knowing that I suffered with it for many years I can say mental health is nothing to sneer and jeer at.  It is something real that millions of people deal with every day in their own way.  It is a must to recognize the signs and pull one another from those dark trenches before life completely unfolds.  Let’s start paying more attention to the masks that are put on by others and seeing what can be done to help one another.



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  1. I am loving this Tea with honey. You ladies are a great inspiration. Keep up the good work and please don’t stop pouring the tea…

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