I really hate questions about “what I did today.” I understand that questions like this are a pretty standard part of life, but they make me uncomfortable.
Why, you ask? Well, because some days, I really do not do that much, and that can make people look at me differently. There are days when either my depression, anxiety, or body image (or any combination of the three) make it extremely difficult to do things. There are days where leaving the house is too much for me, and migrating from my bed to the couch is my greatest accomplishment. There are days when every sight of my body brings me to tears, so the thought of being naked even for the purpose of bathing is paralyzing. There are nights when I’ve slept for two hours because the thought just wouldn’t stop, so I spend the day following binge watching Netflix to keep my mind from wandering.
But I can’t just tell people these things. When they ask me “What did you do today?” it’s easier sometimes to come up with a lie than to deal with the looks of pity, confusion or disgust. I know they don’t mean any harm, but they just do not understand. If I were to be honest on those days and respond with something like “Well today my biggest accomplishment was moving to the couch from my bed,” I know that some people would look at me differently. That is the problem with stigma. People do not understand that things that may seem like “simple, everyday tasks” are quite the contrary.
I live with multiple chronic mental illnesses. I am still learning how to cope and how to deal with them in my day to day life. People try to do their best to understand, but it’s hard to understand something they haven’t experienced. If you’ve never tasted peanut butter, you can’t really imagine the taste. Sometimes the thought of explaining the taste of my mental illness is just too hard. So if I seem hesitant to tell you how I spent my day, take a beat, and ask yourself if you’re ready for any possible answer. Remember that my life taste different than your’s and unless you’ve tasted my problems, you may not ever fully understand them.