It seems that when you suffer from an illness, people seem to think that illness then defines you. All those years before you got the illness are forgotten, almost like the real you never existed. All that remains are recent memories of who and what you have become since. This was really bought to my attention recently during a (heated) discussion with Michael. I had spent the previous week being angry at him, trying to talk to him had led to nothing, so I did what any normal grown up would do in my situation. I sulked. I was snappy with him, and generally ‘off’ thinking this would get my message across, but alas my efforts were in vain – he just assumed it was the depression. Heaven forbid he consider that he had done anything wrong – he is only male afterall! After explaining this to him, he did apologise and realised he didn’t even think about it being anything else.
So is that who I am from now on? This year has seen a big improvement for me – I posted last year about how I wouldn’t let depression take over my life anymore (read it here) but it would seem that it isn’t just me that has let it take over – I now have the job of convincing the people around me that I am normal? That I can be annoyed or angry at someone without it being all about depression – instead it can be about ME! And I don’t have to be angry at them because of depression either, it can actually be something they have done, it doesn’t have to be me over reacting or taking things the wrong way!
I want to get back to being thought of as Andrea, not Andrea with depression. I want people to tell me what they think, rather than skirt round it because of how I could react. I don’t need treating like I have something wrong with me, because that’s for me to deal with, and how can I ever truly get better when people tiptoe around being scared to tell me the truth? I want to be treated as the person I used to be – the person I really am. Because having depression does not mean depression defines me – I am still the person I always was.