Most of the time, I fit in just fine.
Nothing about my disorder—well managed, well medicated, well closeted—causes disturbance others would recognize. Even last week, when I dipped down into despair because of medication management issues, I somehow smiled my way through my pain in public before sobbing into my pillow once I got home.
At a bachelorette party in the Hamptons this past weekend, my mood had improved considerably and I was able to enjoy myself. But because just a few days prior I’d been suffering, I wanted to be vigilant about self-care. It can be hard to assert your needs when those needs are different than everyone else’s.
That said, here are some things none of us should have to apologize for or explain.
1. Not Drinking
I can’t drink more than a glass or two of wine. More than that interferes with my medication and I start to feel depressed. I haven’t been a teenager since the 90s, and yet I still experience peer pressure to drink from well-intentioned friends who want me to have fun. “I really can’t drink,” I tell them. No apology. Just fact.
2. Sleeping In
If I could have a superpower, I think it would be not to fly or to freeze time but to simply be a short sleeper. Unfortunately, I need 8-9 hours to feel rested. In relationships or on vacations with friends who are early risers, I’ve found myself apologizing for sleeping late in the past. But now I’ve come to accept that this is just part of who I am.
3. Feeling Sad
Over the weekend, I spent time with an acquaintance who is always upbeat, cheerful. I so admire her disposition. But I am not her. These days, smiling takes effort. Optimism is hard; crying is easy. I’m not particularly proud when I feel this way, but I understand that this too shall pass. And I’m not about to apologize for my feelings.