You Never Really Know Someone

Today’s Lesson:

Making assumptions about people.
Making assumptions about the people we know.
Making assumptions about the people we know and love.

Today I learnt a lesson which took me by surprise.

I write this as we go through week 4 of lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The extra time and not being able to visit loved ones means people are keeping in touch more frequently which is nice.

I am one of those people – speaking with my parents more, and the friends who I can’t usually synchronise diaries for a 10-minute catchup.

Today I recieved an unexpected call from a dear friend. Someone who I love dearly. We speak frequently and every call is a delight.

We usually talk about our hobbies, relationships, our career, ambitions and favourite films. The conversation weaves between subjects with no purpose or obvious flow. We’re two friends throwing out what comes into our heads and catching up on life. A sign of a beautiful friendship.

I make reference to an actor we both like and say ‘I am surprised to find out they take antidepressants.’

The conversation flows some more.
Then it moves into a place I never thought it would go.

My friend tells they have started taking antidpressants because they have been depressed for over a year.

I’m really embarrassed to admit it, but at first, I think this is a joke. You see, my friend is one of those well-rounded, contagiously happy, loving and wholesome humans. The kind we look to for advice. The friend who is balanced, has-their-shit-together and (seems to be) enjoying life.

I write this blog because I used to think:
1. I was a good judge of character
2. I could identify when someone wasn’t feeling good

It turns out I can do neither of those.
Today I learnt a huge lesson!

One of my best friends who I love and have known for years has been silently suffering. They are depressed and have been experiencing suicidal thoughts.

I cry as I write this.
I cry because I haven’t known and haven’t been able to help.

I also cry because I have been in a similar place in the past; suffering from depression on several occasions and contemplated ending my life.

As my friend and I speak, I remember the paralysing, physical pain I felt in my body and brain when I was depressed – not being able to make sense of things going on inside my head and the things around me. I hated that my friend might be feeling similar.

I write this here as a reminder to myself, and a reminder to others, that we never really know someone else. We never truly know what is going on in other people’s heads, no matter how well we think we know them.

If you are having a hard time, please tell someone.
Please do not suffer in silence.