Last week I had the absolute pleasure of sharing the joy and love of a wedding. The bride was a good friend on the same course as me and the couple were two of the most the most God-fearing, vibrant, conscientious, lovely people I can think of. An unbelievable proportion of decorations, dresses, and cakes were thoughtfully conceived and skilfully homemade. The ceremony was tears-inducing, so evident was the love between the couple. Exquisitely gifted friends and family members offered their talent throughout the service. Hundreds and hundreds of people from different parts of their walk of life filled the seats.
As for the reception? I can’t say. I wasn’t there.
I had a catastrophically timed “bad day”. One tiny, insignificant trigger. It wasn’t a crippling, stay-home-on-my-own-all-day kind of “bad day”, but it was enough to turn me into a flake. I’d cried all the way through the journey to the wedding and my boyfriend had comically yelled that I was going to ruin my makeup. The ceremony, a beautiful and happy event for everyone else, was riddled with vague anxiety for me. I could disguise the odd tear or two as happiness for the wonderful couple. When the service ended and the guests mingled, however, I cracked quickly.
I’d slipped on a mask of giddy happiness. The mild state of anxiety goes well with that one. Plaster a huge grin and no one will be able to tell. I’d harnessed the slight adrenaline rush into a look of excitement. I spent the interval between the ceremony and the reception with Bella, catching up on the weeks we’ve missed on each other’s company whilst we went our separate ways in the summer holiday. Carry on conversations with a few friends, grin maniacally, hug the bride to congratulate her.
I was soon exhausted. I couldn’t disguise the vague heaviness in my chest to myself. By the time we throw confetti at the bride and groom, I felt irritable towards everyone in my vicinity. Worst of all, I felt an increasing guilt that I couldn’t tap into the atmosphere of joy, not even for my friend on the most monumental day of her life. I was wrapped in my own indifferent, selfish bubble.
So I made a vague excuse to Bella to excuse myself for a few minutes. I made a phone call to my boyfriend. I asked him to pick me up, making up another vague excuse of the large interval between the service and celebration. I came back to my friends, hugged them goodbye and told a bare-faced lie that I was leaving because of my imminent trip to my parents’. In truth, I could have comfortably stayed a few more hours and have enough time to pack and prepare.
That day, depression came without reason. That day, depression didn’t even try particularly hard. But that day, I gave in. I walked away from the crowd and laughter and celebration without a backward glance.