Depression makes me go into social 'hibernation'

It’s no secret to people who know me that I deal with mental health issues every day. It’s something that I am incredibly proud of, though not in some weird, misinformed woohoo-depression-and-anxiety-is-a-blast way. I’m just happy to speak up about it to people who have been shamed into silence for so long. If I’m going to share myself so publicly, I want to show the not-so-cute parts.

Discovering more about myself (including the things I don’t like) has been part of learning about my coping mechanisms, how I deal with difficulties, why I do the things I do. I’m the biggest self-analyser you’ll ever meet. I like to play therapist to myself (not that I should ever take the place of a professional), where I get to be a neurotic Sherlock, and my own mind is the case I’m trying to crack.

I’ve always been withdrawn. As a kid, I rarely made it through the night at sleepovers. I would end up calling my parents at midnight, asking them to pick me up. It’s like I couldn’t settle until I was alone again. Even when surrounded by people I loved, I kept looking at the clock. I would routinely make up excuses as to why I couldn’t attend social events. I had my handful of friends and never really cared to expand it much. Even now, my social circle is tiny. If I ever threw a party, who would I even invite? – I sometimes wonder.

I think this might surprise a lot of people who know me. I’ve been told I come across very bubbly and outgoing. Sure, there’s some truth in those statements but I get very excited and passionate about seemingly small things. My natural instinct is to believe in people. I trust everyone. I give second chances. 

However, I’ll always be the first one to leave the party. It’s difficult to know if this is because of anxiety or if it’s just a personality trait. Maybe these don’t exclude each other.

I know that when I withdraw, I stop returning texts. When I ebb away from people’s lives like I had never been there to begin with, that hurts me deeply. And every time I wake up and discover that I’ve been in hiding for a few months, I feel terrible. But it’s a cyclical process, it comes and goes. It’s a hard thing to change when it feels like part of who you are.

I don’t ever mean to pull away. It’s never malicious. It isn’t because I hate someone or have decided that my life is better without them. It’s because my brain says, “You’re done for a while. Go hibernate, you weirdo.” So I do. I hibernate. I’m a hibernating human.

What I’m saying is: I’m still here. I am not good at telling people when I’m hurting so I hide in solitude instead. I avoid. I ignore. And none of it is good. But I am still alive.

Sometimes I just need to escape for a bit, but I will come back, I promise. I’ll always come back.

-Andrew F