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Ive been wearing a mask all my life!!

Community Member

I really dont know how to reach out and ask for help so ive taking this up to hopefully find answers.

i think i have known iv got both anxiety and depression for a long time dating back to my childhood. but being polynesian "theres no such thing" or was told "im just overly sensitive"

So all my life its felt like everyday i wake up shower and put on a Mask to show "happy....joyful....strong....driven person.. when deep down i hate myself.... i feel lonely... empty....worthless and so much more i have absolutely no energy and no motivation to do anything!

i have 2 beautiful girls and most times they cheer me up, sometimes it takes me just to stare at them for 1 minute for me to snap out of being blue... but then there are times when they cuddle me or give me kisses because they see im"sad" even that doesnt work... and i try to stay away from them because i dont want them to see me like this... does this make me a bad mum??

Its 4am right now and i cant sleep... this is EVERY NIGHT! i still get up and do my duties as a mother and wife but i do it with me wearing a mask.... there are times i just stay in bed or decide not to clean up... or make dinner.... but i guess im thankful my husband picks up where i slack off.

i want to talk to people, and not have to put that mask on.... i want them to see the REAL me!! and most of all i want to speak to someone that will understand me and what im going through.

I have decided to go and speak to my GP about this (never have before) im getting anxious already.... please if you have any tips...


13 Replies 13

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi Nansee

Welcome to the forums and good on you for posting too!

Wearing that mask is standard for the bulk of the people that suffer depression/anxiety. Ive used to have acute anxiety and now have depression. Whether its a 'mask' or just coping day to day I do the same as you do

The frustrating and tiring 4am wake ups are so draining..I used to get those for years until my GP helped me get back to a restful sleep without interruption..Yay!

You are a smart and pro-active person to have engaged your GP..well done to you!

The GP's have better training on anxiety and depression nowadays Nansee...you are only one of tens of thousands that see their GP for help on these issues.

If it helps you..some people copy their thread (on here) and print it out...it can save you a stack of time and stress by just handing them a piece of paper. You have also articulated your anxiety/depression very well..

My first anxiety attack was in 1983. Even though its only depression now I still see my GP every 4-8 weeks for a tune up if I start to lose focus. I look forward to the appts now...You have so much to gain and nothing to lose by seeing your GP.

there are many very kind people on the forums that can be here for you Nansee that have the same issues

I hope you can let us know how you went 🙂

A double appointment is also an idea so you can have a more productive consult

my kind thoughts for you


Community Member

Hi Nansee. Wearing a mask is common practise for most people. I too wear a mask, I was also told to 'snap out of it', 'get a job' etc. I am slowly taking off my mask, it's not easy, but I have put my faith in a very understanding bf who is helping me. It's hard, but if your Dr is understanding and gentle, you will do it. How to take the mask off, how to 'be you'. Your first experience taking off a life time of hiding is going to be quite painful. Unloading to a Dr means going against your upbringing of being told 'it's all in your mind'. If you are comfortable with the Dr and he knows a bit about you, that will make things easier. Perhaps write down some of the things you find difficult to say. I suggest you tell him years of conditional upbringing and being told we keep our home life to ourselves is why it's now hard to 'break the code of ethics', you have been raised under. You have been raised with Polynesian ethics meaning constantly putting on a show is how you have been taught. Try to explain the Polynesian way of life to put him in the picture of how isolated and lonely you feel. The more background you give, the easier to educate the Dr. Even if he has been to Polynesia, understanding their culture is quite different to visiting.


Just Sara
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi and welcome M-Girl to our caring community on BB;

Paul and Lynda have given some lovely words of support. I agree you're so brave to come out of your shell of protection to seek help from like minded souls to guide you back to 'yourself' instead of acting to please others.

You're articulate and intelligent, this comes thru clearly. But then these qualities are common among our members and people in general who suffer with mental health related disorders.

I'm hoping this site will encourage you to share who you are with us, caring people who want no more than to assist you to be yourself without judgement. We totally understand where you're coming from as we've been thru the gammit of trials ourselves.

Please, put your pain and confusion onto this thread so the words rolling around your mind, and the worry has at last a voice to do so. We're here to listen with open arms of support.

Could you elaborate on the problems you face within your culture for instance? When did the 'blues' begin and do you have an idea of why? How do you feel your childhood has influenced being an adult?

The answers to all these questions can be put down in words to hopefully allow you the space to sort thru the emotion to find your truth.

Your GP has the authority to create a mental health care plan to include visits with a psychologist and much needed medication to help you sleep. Talking confidentially to someone face to face will surely be better than hiding.

Take care of you first, so then you're at your best for your beautiful daughters and attentive husband.

Warm and gentle thoughts...

Sara (hugs)

Just Sara
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi again M-Girl;

I just wanted to add; if you find a thread called - 'Getting to know you...or is that me?', please read the first page. I created it with my very first post in 2015. Although it's become a quite complex thread at present, the beginning was very similar to your story. (From me and others who'd lost themselves)

Be kind and gentle with yourself...

Sara xo

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Nansee/maskedgirl

Welcome to the BB forums and to the community. As said above wearing a mask is common, because it can help us get through the day. However I am glad you have decided to take of your mask on the forums so we can see the real you and so you can confront your depression and anxiety. A lot of your feelings "lonely... empty....worthless and so much more i have absolutely no energy and no motivation to do anything!" and lack of sleep are unfortunately typical signs and symptoms of depression/anxiety.

Parts of your story sound similar to me. I was only recently diagnosed with GAD (18ish months ago) however I know I have had it since childhood. I would struggle with low moods and try put a mask on so people would stop telling me I look sad or distracted. It can be draining always wearing a mask and ignorning the signs of anxiety and depression. I was so physically and mentally exhausted from it that I got to breaking point, I couldn't function properly anymore I didn't want to live a life this way anymore. I decided to go see a GP at a local mental health service and I was refered to a mental health nurse (acted like a counsellor to me) and a psychiatrist. There I began to recover and I finally saw a life where I wouldn't have to wear a mask all the time but show my real face, because they looked the same (smiley). It took me a while to get to this stage, but getting help and the struggles associated with it were easier than losing my battle with anxiety and depression alone.

To get started in your recovery I suggest you discuss this with your husband or someone else close to you (I talked to my parents). They can help you and support you or at least make sure you go to your appointments. I would then see your local GP and book a long appointment (maybe talk to the receptionist when booking and say you are querying a mental health plan). There your doctor can help you and refer you one to a counsellor or whoever else they think is necessary for your recovery.

Hope this helps. And please keep us posted

Community Member

Thank you Sara and everyone else

I think its started when i was quite young, from birth to adult i was made to feel "irrelevant, unimportant,unloveable.

My biological mother abandoned me when i was a baby.. the intial plan with my parents was, my father would come to NZ with me and work to get enough money to bring my biological mother over as well from American samoa... long story short... me and my father waited at the airport... she did not come ... my dad then called her from a payphone and she said "ive found someone else... look after our daughter, please dont contact me again" (1-2 years old) Did my mother not love me?

After a few months my father then found someone else (ofcourse i would expect him to) but my step mum didnt want me in their lives even though when they married she had a new born baby with her... my father, in my eyes dumped me off to his mothers (grandma) and i grew up watching my own father raise my step mums daughter as his very own where as i felt like i was "a nobody"

  • Did my dad not love me too?

You'd think... "oh well lets hope she was loved by my grandma.... nope!! yes i was fed... had clothes... but growing up getting beaten everyday... simply for the fact that i was a spitting image of my mother... my grandma could not stand me! i use to always get told "youre gonna end up like sluts just like your mother and her sisters" "whats the point of taking you to school when youre probably just going to end up with 5 kids to different men living off the benefit" she hated me and it showed with the clothes i wore (ripped, old and too small), the scars on my body, the expression on my face.

Why did my grandma not love me?

She died when i was 12 and i was thrown around like a hot potato from auntys and uncle (dads brothers and sister) i never felt loved . ... i just became and effort to them... "another mouth to feed" "another problem"

  • could they not have loved me?

as soon as i was 18 i ran away... found my now husband... had two kids... but even then my inlaws with the 2 years i stayed with them use to say "shes so ugly" "shes so black" "just find a good looking girl" "shes poor"

  • Does nobody want me?

this all happened in NZ and 4 years ago in 2013 my husband loved me so much we moved to australia away from my family and his. he loves me and so do my kids but i cant help but think my luck will run out soon and they will leave me too someday!

why am i still unhappy? I have a family that loves me?

Community Member

Hi Nansee. I think your mother loved you, but didn't love your dad. Unfortunately her decision to not follow your dad meant you were abandoned. Your dad connecting, marrying another woman would've seemed the perfect solution. Perhaps the new step-mum initially lied and told your dad you were a welcome part of the deal as a way of getting him to agree to marry, then abandoning you. Maybe pride stopped your dad abandoning his new wife and he may have hoped to eventually get her to agree to accept you. His mother's treatment of you was disgusting, blaming you for your mother's behaviour is terrible. Of course you now naturally believe you are totally unloved and unwanted. Your in-laws certainly did nothing to enhance your feelings of not being worthy. I would even go so far as to surmise you possibly feel you have driven a wedge between your hubby and his family. Your hubby's decision to immigrate here to start afresh without constant parental interference was his decision, based on his love and commitment to you. You have the devotion of a hubby who loved you enough to protect you from further hurt. You have children who love you and will always need you in their lives. The hurt you carry is because nothing was ever resolved and you were made to feel a piece of baggage. 4 years ago you came here, all the hurt from a lifetime of abuse is still very much there because you have no idea how to dispose of it. You are more than worthy of love, everyone is. What I would like you to do is, imagine you have boxes, one box for everyone who hurt you. Put your biological mother, father and step mother in one box, all together, they started the abuse, place them together so they can abuse each other. Now place your g'parents, aunts, uncles etc in another box. Now place in-laws in another box. Put these boxes somewhere in your mind. Every day, allow yourself to remove one box, your choice which one. Take the box, tell the inhabitants exactly how you feel about them, take as long as you like. Leave it for a few days, then remove another box (same one again if desired). Again tell the inhabitants how you feel. Each time you do this, give yourself a treat. They can't hurt you, you have the power.


Hello again M-Girl;

Your story is absolutely soul crushing to read. The abandonment over and again from so called loved one's, must be heartwrenching for you my lovely. I'd like to reach into the screen and grab you, hold you tight so your tears flow like a river until there aren't anymore.

As a mother, I'm mortified at the level of insensitivity and lack of accountability from the grown up's in your tragic childhood...just bewildered!! I want to offer you my sincere and heartfelt love; firstly as an empathetic mother, and secondly as another abandoned child. Although my truth still hurts some days, it's negligable compared to yours.

You have no shortage of caring people here on BeyondBlue to hear and validate you and your God given right to express your deep, deep sadness.

Every question you highlighted in bold print, screams of the broken heart of a little girl; still living and crying from inside your body, mind and soul. Yes, physical wounds heal, but emotional and mental scars are far more complex and painful, and if not dealt with can create a haven for the darkest of times. You seem to be at the place before that dark comes. So there is hope...

I won't say you're going to completely heal, but I can tell you surviving those scars is possible. You 'do' have the ability to live with confidence and self empowerment. There is always hope...

I won't be giving you advice today. This is emotional for me, and as a fellow sufferer, I need to be aware of my boundaries when 'feeling' for another person. I hope you understand.

You can be assured though, I will support you anyway I can. Please keep writing and sharing, and allowing us behind your privacy mask. Thankyou for doing this, I feel honoured.

Mega hugs...Sara xoxo

Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Nansee

This one simple thing is all I have to offer:

No matter what I've been - & I have been truly horrible in my illness -I have been loved by two partners, one for 25 years till she died, now another for over 20. My son who is over 40 loves me too.

Some are faithful, loving, supportive, never leave.

Please plant that seed of thought in the recesses of your mind - when you can. For me it was an anchor to hold onto.

Your words tell of your anguish - they also tell you are so worthy of such love