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
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?
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 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.