Years later, after some mandatory family therapy and jump-starting a normal life in the real world, I had nearly forgotten about that life chapter. It was then that I met real Depression for the first time. Not my fashion statement, but the chemical imbalance. My ability to just "snap out of it" was no longer there. I couldn't explain it. I didn't want it.
I became the girl who cried wolf.
I used to try depression on like a pair of shoes, but it was really there. Under my skin. Depression re-introduced me to Anxiety, an old childhood friend, who set up permanent residence in my brain. That voice is always there, with endless commentary about every conversation I have and decision I make. It's loudest when I meet new people, and jerks at my heart like it's a puppet on strings.
Not wanting to be a cliche (again), I didn't talk about it. Instead of saying "I can't tonight, I had a panic attack and need to rest." I would feign getting a cold. Or financial troubles. Or needing to work late. If no one knew, I could pretend it wasn't there.
As I approached 30, I either became brave or tired. I stopped fabricating normalized reasons for my extreme moods or needs, and the consequence that I had feared was overwhelming. I was loved, so if my friends or family thought less of me for it, they didn't say so. They encouraged me. They cut me slack. They told me they were there for me if I needed them. I met with a doctor and am currently exploring my options with therapy and medication. There isn't anything poetic or elegant anymore. It's my new normal, and just about everyone knows about it.