There’s a quote that has always intrigued me that says, “Give a man a mask and he will show you his true face.” I always think of this quote around this time of year since September is Suicide Awareness and Prevention Month. Everyone has been touched by depression or anxiety, whether or not they cope with it themselves, or just know someone dealing with it. I feel that there are two ways that you can interpret this quote. There are two types of masks, a physical one and an emotional one.
If you give someone a mask that covers their physical appearance they are more likely to be as brash and honest as they want to. It is then that you will find the truest version of a person. People say that someone will lose their inhibitions when they are drunk and that’s when you will see what’s truly in their heart, but I think that you will see real honesty when people know that they are anonymous. Living in the age of the internet shows this clearly. People hide behind the masks that are their computer screens and take to the web to support or bash all types of people and groups that have the courage to share themselves to the world.
On the other hand, there is the mask that many of us put on every day when we leave our homes. This emotional mask only shows the part of us that we want to share with the world and the people that we come in contact with every day. This is the mask that many people that struggle with anxiety, depression, or mental illness feel that they need to put on to be accepted by society. Most people that know me or come in contact with during my daily life would probably say that I’m a happy person. I’m almost always smiling and willing to help people out at any point in time. Only my closest friends know my daily struggle to get up, stay positive, and keep that smile on my face. This is very hard for me to say, but I am one of those people that put on an emotional mask each day. That being said, I ask us all to remember, not just during this month of Suicide Awareness and Prevention, that you never know what is going on behind someone else’s mask. We should all try to be kind because I don’t know what you’re going through, and you don’t know what I am.