A Letter to Depression

Author`s Note: This piece is about my struggle with depression through my eyes. If you feel that you might be hurt by it, please don`t read it. 

A Letter to Depression 

Dear Depression,

It’s been a long fight hasn’t it? I still remember the first time you came. You didn’t saunter in. You didn’t even announce your presence. I had my back turned towards the door, I was looking out the window-trying to find the perfect moment to get swept away in the whirlwind of life. I had left the door open from my last visitor who finally got tired of throwing things around, who decided to leave when I was no longer the perfect puppet. I had just never turned around to close it.

And in you crept.


And even then, for the longest time I thought that the shadows that made their way across the floor was just the remains of the sun setting. And when the sun didn’t rise again, I thought the only thing wrong in the room was my lack of vision. Or else, surely, it must have been a hallucination. Because the sun had risen, I just couldn’t see it…right? And when the shadow fell over the trees, and I could no longer feel the warm breeze on my cheek, I still didn’t check to see if something was wrong. It’s just one of those days. The wind doesn’t feel like blowing today. Doesn’t feel like lifting me up and twirling me around. That’s okay. It’s just a few hours…right?

Just a few days?

Just a few weeks?

Just a few months?


And I only turned around when there was a chill in the room. When I thought that the draft must be coming from the door and obviously not from the open window and so I had decided to close it before it got even colder.

And you announced yourself.

At first, I thought you were just another one of my guests. Completely black, sweeping away everything in your path with one swift draw of your cloak. Maybe it was just another hallucination?

How long had we stood there, staring at each other? Waiting for one to make the first move? To start this torturous game?

How long?

But I guess you finally got tired of waiting. And I got tired of expecting. Because when you whispered to me, your sharp words couldn’t find any resistance in my mind. And when you took the beautiful strands of my thoughts and very precisely sewed them together just so you could add it to your cloak, I didn’t do anything. I was too busy trying to convince myself that it was an illusion. That it will pass.  I was too caught up in accepting the fact that you were no longer a visitor, but that you had been formed out all of the dark crevices found in my mind.

Then you got closer; instead of the words you decided were too weak, you had moved on to actions that were sure to make me snap out of my illusion.

And when you twisted my arm behind my back, I never cried out mercy. I thought it. But I didn’t call it. Because I knew you wouldn’t let go, and no one would ever make you.

And when you landed the first punch, I was a little shaken but still standing. You applauded me for my efforts. And then you knocked me down. You threw so many hits I couldn’t find a way to defend myself, couldn’t find a way to stand, couldn’t find a way to call out, couldn’t give myself a chance.


And so I bled.

And when you finally stopped, when I was so broken and bruised that each movement sent a fresh wave of agony, you-in an act of kindness-offered me a choice. In one hand, you held out a small bottle. Glass, tiny, and it glittered in the fading light if I remember correctly.

Do you remember?

Clear liquid that flowed like a stream over a solitary path of pebbles.

Release, you promised.

And in your other hand? A closed fist.

Choose carefully, you warned.

But I was in too much pain to think carefully. Was in too much pain to consider the past and the future. The ripple effect I may have through these empty corridors. All I could hear was myself, frantically trying to pull a breath through broken ribs. All I could see was the darkness coating the walls, the window that had long since been closed. All I could think was mercy.

And so I chose the bottle. I knew it was poison. But it was not your gentle whispers that this would be a balm to my suffering that made me accept the bottle. You had given me two options but really only one choice. To accept the closed fist would mean endless torture. To accept the small bottle would mean peace. Was I wrong in my thought process then? The strands that were now frayed and cut could find no connection between reality and pain.

No, I would suffer no longer. We both thought that you had won.

But you lost.

I didn’t know it. And you didn’t know it.

But you never closed the door behind you.

And when someone walked by the long deserted hallway, when they saw me raise the bottle to my lips, they raced inside and snatched it out of my hands. And although first shocked, I quickly transitioned to tears. To have release be snatched away!

You had not become the villain, this outsider had.

I had screamed with all the breath I had left to give it back to me.

And you tried to get it back for me as well. But you couldn’t touch them. And when you tried to conjure a new bottle they snatched it out of your hands every time.

I begged.

I screamed.

I cried.

I fell silent.

They banished you to the corner like a misbehaved child and then in a loud voice called out to others. They tended to me until all I has left was scars. They scrubbed and wiped the walls clean and got rid of the darkness when they brought in the light of love. They pulled and pushed at the window until it finally opened. They dragged me to the window-unwillingly I might add-and forced me to see the sun. Forced me to feel my hair flowing back off my face as the wind caressed my skin.

But you would not be forgotten.

You whispered to me from your corner. You held one last bottle that they hadn’t managed to take away. And I don’t blame you for what you did. And sometimes, I will visit you.

But I will never submit to you.

I will never allow myself to mistake you for a friend.

I will never allow you to completely control my life.

I will never allow you to banish those who saved my life.

I will never allow you to close the window again.




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12 thoughts on “A Letter to Depression

  1. Dear Sara,

    I’ve been thinking about a way to start this for almost ten minutes now and all I can say is wow. And I mean that truly and deeply, as cliche as it sounds. And I’m well aware I say that a lot when it comes to your work but that’s because it never fails to move me. Your voice is such a gifted one, and knowing how hard you have worked to bring it to the light humbles me. As someone who has never really had a problem being heard, I am honoured to hear your voice and to have read this piece.

    The thing about writing mental illness is that its incredibly tricky. Even more so, I would offer, if you have it. Because how on earth can you expect someone else to understand what you yourself do not fully understand. Or, perhaps its that you understand your depression perfectly. I don’t know. I don’t live in your head. But what I can say is that you have managed to communicate something that cannot be put into words and I don’t entirely know what it is. But whatever it is, it makes the piece one of the best I have ever encountered regarding mental illness. There is both a poetry and a frankness to your writing. This makes the work beautiful to read, but the concept is also accessible to those without depression. And that is impressive. I would offer trying to describe a mental illness to those who do not have one is sort of like speaking a language someone has only ever read but never heard spoken. The words and comprehension are there, but something in the transition from page to mouth is choppy and slows communication.

    Yet you have broken this barrier. Smashed it in fact. And it’s wonderful. Out of everything you’ve ever written, I would have to say this one is in my top three. The first being your this I believe. Its giving second place a run for its money, and that is currently being held by a poem you read to me last year. ‘Do you see the Spark’ I believe you called it? Anyway, my point is this is phenomenal.

    The writing you have been producing over the past six-ish months Sara is truly a testimonial to your growth, both as a writer and a woman. I am so proud of all that you’ve done for yourself. And if I may say so, I think the girl I met in grade nine would be not only proud, but grateful too. Never forget that by no one’s strength but your own, you’ve saved not just your own life and given a voice to yourself, but saved her life and raised her voice as well. And you both deserve to live and be heard.

    Humbly Yours,

    PS I’m sorry for the cliques

    1. Dearest Megan,
      Beautiful, sweet, kind, amazingly wonderful Megan.
      First off, you will never, ever, not in the span of forever understand how grateful I am to you. How much I am in your debt. You saved my life.
      I haven’t even read your comment yet but I had to say that.
      There are not enough words in the universe to convey my thankfulness of your comment. The fact that you used the word “humbled,” really shocked me because-well, you’re Megan-as weird as that sounds. It’s strange to me that a fighter like yourself is able to be humbled by something I have said. It’s a weird feeling.
      I agree with you, writing about mental illness is very tricky. Because it’s not tangible right? How do I use the words that I have learned, that I have surrounded myself with, to put something down on paper that really changes every second of every minute of every day of every month. And if you have it, it becomes so much harder. I don’t know what it is but..there’s just something about putting depression down on paper that doesn’t seem right to me. Maybe because it’s too real for me? Maybe because I don’t want people to comment and say that I haven’t done something right in terms of writing structure, or grammar, that I should have. Because I feel like depression is greater then repetition or parallelism or comma splices. And you’re right-I don’t understand my depression fully.
      Coming from a writer that I respect a lot that means a lot to me that you said that this is one of the best pieces you’ve read in terms of mental illness.
      I love the juxtaposition of your words between poetry and frankness. Just had to put that out there.
      I hope just as much as you do that the girl back in grade 9 who always sat in the corner, who barely talked to anyone, who was so scared of speaking or telling anyone what was going on would be proud too. Or at the very least, grateful-thankful that the cliche of the storm will pass is not general, but applies in her life too. She just doesn’t know it yet.
      Your last paragraph made me lose my breath. Incredibly beautiful wording. More so, a testament to our friendship that you know exactly me in the past and me now. Will you ever understand what you’ve done for me?

      Thank you so much. For everything.


  2. Dear Sara,

    I have never been able to grasp the concept of mental illness – how can something alter the brain in a way that it makes the individual do things out of their control? But you’ve truly made it fathomable in a way that I have no words left to describe. I’ve always admired your flawless transitions within your writing, and your ability to intertwine so many different aspects (logos, ethos, pathos) to add to that perfection.

    I honestly didn’t find anything where I could suggest improvement; you’re really a role model for writing. You really put everything into your writing and I truly like that about you.

    As well, you used repetitiveness, and started and ended the story in a loop that gave your post a complete, final structure. Your personification of depression: wow. I felt as if he was in the room beside me. The visual images you have the ability to create through just your words can really make a reader lose sense of reality and be sucked into your piece.

    Like Megan said, it’s hard to get into the mind of people with mental illness, but it’s harder to get into your own mind and pull out your own personal experiences with such efficiency. I believe you did a fantastic job. You deserve praise for your ability to turn the intangible, real.


    1. Dear Ayisha,
      Thank you so much for your beautiful comment.
      I completely understand when you say it’s hard to understand mental illnesses. And that sentence is exactly what motivated me to write this piece. To show the world that just because it’s not seen, doesn’t mean it’s not as real as a broken leg or arm. To show that even though it’s still abstract, it still hurts so much on the days where the illness wins.
      And finally, that accepting the bottle is not easy. It is a not choice that is made offhandedly. That’s it’s not “the easy way out,” in fact, I would argue that it’s the hardest choice an individual will ever make.
      I am extremely thankful that I was able to at least convey a small part and that I helped you to understand. That really hit me hard when you said you finally understood. It’s why I love words so much-look at what they have the ability to do.
      For me, my goal in writing has always been to go deeper. Just dig deeper and deeper because really, you can never hit rock bottom with words.
      I cannot thank you enough for what you have said. After I posted this, I was going to take it down immediately after it had been graded. But you made me realize one of two things. You made me realize that you-in terms of someone I don’t know very well-appreciated my piece because you understood it and not because you knew about my journey or my struggle. And also, this piece had made me highly uncomfortable and fidgety but your comment brought me peace because you assured me that somehow, I had managed to turn what was intangible to something that an individual can actually grasp.
      Thank you so much,


  3. Dearest Sara,

    Words cannot explain how proud I am of you. Not just for overcoming depression, but for writing this and sharing it with the world… Your courage astounds me and I thank you a million times over for writing this.

    This piece has touched me in ways that I cannot explain; ways that I cannot even begin to understand. There is just so much beauty that flows through your voice. All the imagery, the repitition, the parallelism – it all works together in this piece to paint some sort of a paradoxical yet beautiful piece of art. A piece of art that hits parts of an individual’s heart that they didn’t know existed before. A piece of art that has the power to transform an individual’s eyes into waterfalls. A piece that breaks and mends one’s heart forevermore. Thank you for sharing such a raw kind of beauty with me and with the world.

    This is about to change so many lives and give so many people the hope and strength they need to hold onto life.

    I know that I’ve said this many times before, but I could repeat this a million times and still mean it from the bottom of my heart: you’re beautiful. And so is this journey of yours.

    Yours with love,


    1. Dear Vanessa,
      I am speechless in the face of your kind words. I don’t what to say and I what am I am about to say will never truly convey how hard your comment hit me.
      Thank you so much for your words, you have no idea how much they have impacted me. But more than that, I would like to thank you for being there, even if you didn’t fully understand what was going.
      I know that you know what I’m talking about when I say sometimes I feel we both weathered the same storm at one point.
      This piece was truthfully one of the hardest pieces I have written but your words make me grateful that I picked up the pen and chose to write anyways.
      I truly hope that it will impact others like you have mentioned. It makes me feel better knowing that I’m not the only one battling with the shadowy figure of depression and even more so then that, that my greatest weapon against depression are the words and hopes of other people.
      Thank you so, so, so much.


  4. Dear Sara,

    I know I don’t know you personally but I would just like to say that you are an incredibly gifted writer and I would love so much to read more of your work. Wow. As Megan said, I am literally sitting here in awe of how beautiful this was. Every word you used fit perfectly, and it flowed in a way that makes the reader want more.

    Choosing to write about a topic like this was so brave, and I think a lot of people who have or have battled a mental illness would love to read this. It’s raw, true, and makes me understand the topic in a way I never could before. This truly is art.

    With love,

    1. Dear Alysha,
      Thank you so much for your comment, it means a lot to me.
      This was truthfully a very hard piece for me to write. And I know I could have chosen something easier, but I had felt like it needed to be said. And even if not said, then at least written down in my words. A belief that I hold very strongly is that if I don’t stand up and talk about it, who will?
      Thank you again for your kind words,


  5. Dear Sara,

    I honestly say this to everyone, and I mean it every time, but you have blown me away with the amount of insight, and the raw imagery that came along with this piece. I loved the way you gave the mental illness an almost human-like quality. When you described it, what I envisioned was a shadow person, something that lingered at the corner of your vision, but at the same time, was still there!

    Now, while the imagery was fantastic, in my opinion, I just couldn’t find the emotion there! While I couldn’t identify with having a mental disorder (maybe, that would be a reason too why), I found that this piece didn’t make me feel as much as it could. This piece is a Mona Lisa, be proud that you wrote something so beautiful. Be sure you work on invoking ethos more in the readers, but I’m sure that it won’t be a problem for you.

    ~With love,

    Bryna Anne

    1. Dear Bryna,
      Thank you so much for your insightful comment. Often times when I do think about my depression, I don`t imagine it so much an emotion but rather a figure and I thank you for letting me know that I have conveyed that point successfully in my piece.
      On terms of your second point, I’m very grateful that you have given me something to improve on. I would like to offer however that the concept of mental illness is very abstract in that it’s not very well known, it’s not very well understood, and most of the time it’s definitely not well received by society. And even for those like myself who do struggle with a mental illness, most of the time even we don’t understand it. I don’t even know a quarter of my depression. I don’t know why it acts the way it does or why my mind is so open to it’s tricks time and and time again. But whatever I have written down, that is what I do know. And even with that (just ask Megan) I even struggle to make sense of it. I would offer that perhaps you didn’t feel ethos, and I didn’t feel ethos, is maybe because it’s not tangible? Maybe because it’s an ever changing concept and even as I wrote this I could feel the disconnect with this piece? But I acknowledge your point and I feel like there is truth to your words. But I don’t how to change it. I don’t how to fix the ever changing depression. If you have suggestions, I would be more than happy to listen.
      Thank you so much again,


  6. My dearest little fighter,

    Only now have I come to understand at least a fragment of how much pain and temptation you withstand. You never mentioned how often you are offered this “bottle” throughout the course of a day, and I apologize for never having witnessed Depression offering you mercy in the most vial of ways, for if I had I would have shattered the bottle before you caught sight of it. I would have dragged Depression to the horizon at sunrise and vanquished its darkness into the light of a better day; of a better tomorrow; of a better future. Always remember that you are stronger than the contents of that bottle.

    Always have been, always will be.

    Your writing captured the essence of a reality in a way that I never thought possible. Your diction was nothing less than perfect, and your style took the breath out of me.

    My apologies for not explicitly stating the magnificence of your work at the beginning of my comment, for I found no need in doing so. Your work is always magnificent. Every sentence, word, syllable, is crafted in the shape of heart–often broken, I must say, but desperately trying to knit itself together. It is the very action of this knitting that moves me.

    Always has been, always will be.

    Your absent little fighter,

    1. Dearest Sania,
      Your comments always shock me because your language and your words are just…breath-taking. They blow me away every time. (Though I resent the fact that you called me little because as we all know I am clearly so much older and more mature than you.)
      And don’t apologize. You are family in the truest sense of the word and your words mean more to me then you will ever know. This was no one’s battle but my own to fight. And so I do not resent you for not being able to take the bottle away and empty it down a drain. I do not hold you responsible for fighting off depression for me. He was never yours to fight off in the first place and I pray he will never be yours to fight ever.
      Beautiful wording. I can’t get over it.
      It is people like you who continuously remind me that I am stronger than my battle. That a battle cannot go on for all eternity and one day, it will end. And the sunrise will not be darkened by tears but be brightened by the light of hope and love.
      I wish I could say more, I wish I could convey my depth of my thankfulness for not only your presence that I feel in your comment but your wonderful presence in my life.
      Once again, you have blown me away and I hope you know that though I cannot say it in words, I will always appreciate what you have said.
      Thank you so much for everything,


      (Also, you are not an “absent little fighter,” you’re the fighter who never rests. Never rests for your beliefs or values, your friends or family. You are the fighter of hope and love.)

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