And so I hide

Image by the incredibly talented Stuart F Taylor

I’m not very chatty on Twitter any more, and it wasn’t until last night when I spoke to a friend on the phone that I realised… I don’t even call my friends that much these days. The last few weeks have been weird and frightening, and they’re only going to get weirder and more frightening until sometime in June when the fear will come to a head and I’ll either sink, swim, or cling desperately to any of the friends I haven’t so far pissed off by ignoring. This is how it works, when my mental health is bad: I hide.

I hide behind my computer, writing porn that bears no resemblance to my actual life, as a neat way to cover for the fact that I don’t want to talk about my life. I type up stories that have sat long-dormant in the back of my mind, to save having to go out and live new ones. I avoid messages because I can’t work out how to say ‘I’m fine’ when I’m not, and I don’t want to be a whiny twat about the things that are going wrong, because other people have it far worse.

This is usually the part of the post where I say ‘I don’t know why I’m telling you this’, but I do know why I’m telling you this: it’s because I’m a coward and I don’t have the energy or courage to say this to people directly. To explain, to those of you who get in touch to ‘just check in’ or ask how I’m doing, that the very act of you doing that gives me another thing on my to-do list.

I’d rather no one cared at all, or offered support or help or chats or sympathy. Right now – when I’m anxious – the only important thing for me is to get my head down and power through the mess. I’d rather try to deal with all of this on my own than have to field a single person who might explain to me that it isn’t possible.

The going got tough, so I hid.

I hid from helpful solutions, because I’ve thought of all of them and none of them will work. I hid from people offering kind words, because listening to them makes me feel like I’m fishing for sympathy. I hid from offers of walks or bike rides because my anxious brain doesn’t think I deserve any of those things – far better, surely, to just sit behind my computer staring at a blank screen, scrolling through unfinished to-do lists and tweaking spreadsheets to make the numbers add up to something other than ‘oh fuck.’


This is all ridiculous, isn’t it? Because hiding from the people who give a shit about me only makes me weaker. My people give me superpowers.

As I say, I chatted to a friend last night, and she reminded me of all the things I learned six months ago then swiftly forgot in the panic of recent times: that I know what I’m doing. That everything will be OK. That she’s excited to fire up the barbecue when I have the time to come and visit. This morning, another incredible friend sent me flowers. Another invited me to come out on a walk.

Things got tough, so I hid. And I’ll keep hiding from most stuff until this shit is over. So apologies if I don’t reply to your kind email/DM very quickly, I’m focusing on trying not to hide from the people I love right here in meatspace. In the meantime I’ll keep churning porn and trying to be entertaining when I have the energy, then one day I’ll come out of hiding. And one day, a little later, I’ll be myself again. And I’ll have loads of new stories to tell you.


  • Sky says:

    Take your time. You’re awesome. You’ll get there.

  • fuzzy says:

    I remember being there. Not gonna say much other than that right now, I’ll wait until much later.

  • besidethesea says:

    I go and hide from time to time too. It’s not good to know someone else does it too, but it is helpful to know I’m not alone so, thank you. All the best.

  • Kayla Lords says:

    As a fellow hider, I get it. I, too, am currently in hiding. And yes, all those reasons you mention are my own.

    My favorite (and by that I mean the thing I hate) is that our jobs are (in part) to connect and so when I hide, I also get the extra anxiety of, “Am I killing my brand/career because I just can’t engage right now?”

    Hopefully we both can dig our way out sooner rather than later.

    • Girl on the net says:

      Oh God yeah I feel you hard on that. And I’m so sorry you’re in the same boat. Sending lots of love to you, and I hope that soon things get better so you don’t need to hide any more <3

  • Neil says:

    > to explain, to those of you who get in touch to ‘just check in’ or ask how I’m doing, that the very act of you doing that gives me another thing on my to-do list.

    I’m guilty of this. I’m sorry for causing added work / anxiety. I won’t do it again!

  • The One says:

    All the love. I’m literally in a text exchange with a fuck buddy right now, and he’s trying to coax some sexting out of me (in a nice way, he’s not an asshole) and I’m patiently and kindly trying to explain to him that I’m not entirely OK but without actually saying that because he’ll either worry or feel guilty, which will then make me feel like an asshole for being oblique and oh look, a spiral. I just want a wordless hug jfc. I hope you’ll be OK 🖤

  • Mosscat says:

    Yep, I’m a fellow hider. Sending love and hugs from the rabbit hole.

  • Quinn Rhodes says:

    Sitting here crying while I’m reading this, because this is 100% where I am right now. I’ve been in a depressive low for the last ten-ish months and I feel like shit every single day. Although I’m functioning better lately (and doing basic adulting things like eating and cleaning my teeth and washing dishes and finally calling my bank about my lost credit card after six months of crushing anxiety) I feel completely numb and alone and worthless. [Content warning: suicide!] I’m not replying to DMs or emails or reaching out for help, because it’s hard to feel like I have anything left to say, because I have asked for so much and I’m still suicidal every single fucking day. I hate myself so much and I’ve been trying so hard but all that’s happened is that I’m too exhausted to do anything but hide. I know that you don’t want people to be nice, and I want to tell you that that’s your brain lying to you, telling you that you don’t deserve help and support – but if I told you that then I’d have to believe it myself and I can’t right now. (Sorry for this stream of incredibly self-centred thoughts: I’ve been typing through my tears and I’m probably going to actually post this comment even though I shouldn’t.)

  • Ant says:

    I identify with this – thanks for saying it. Hang in there. It will be odd and it will still be scary but it will be better

  • Phillip says:

    I’ll put my hands on the tree for you. Can’t hurt!

  • Phillip says:

    I think that when one gets older that things that change are harder to keep up with. Couples uncouple and the question is how to have two friends when they came as a pair. I try an keep up with the emails even if I get no reply. Everyone has down times. It is important to have friends. Not just for the fun times, but when you need real moral support or someone to take over feeding the cat in a emergency. I won’t go on. Just keep on plugging along and just when you wonder why, someone will thank you for keeping them in your mind.

    I think the plague has been more of a complete downer than almost everyone realizes.

  • DaveP says:


    I am no position to preach promise or patronise…. but..oh fuck it…

    You dont know and certainly wouldn”t embrace how fucking inspirational you actually are. YOUR confidence in being able to write and speak so beautifully. YOUR honesty wit and intelligence. YOUR openess to admit your frailties. We all have them. Mine are in a box tucked away.

    We all have dents in our armour (take note colonials who may read this armour has a “U” just like labour and colour).

    You see .. you can smile….

    Some polish out some shape our outer skin.
    They shape us. Form us. But you beat them back into shape they are malleable…

    Just continue to be you.

    You are actually amazing

    Love ….from all of us x


  • Valery North says:

    I recognise a lot of this, especially the thing about people checking in being just another task to get through before the day is done! (That, and the desire to just burrow through to the other side, on your own.)

    So I’ll add my hugs and good thoughts to the others, and we’ll be here when you’re ready to meet the rest of the world again

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