You are Not Alone

Depression is weird. It messes with your memory. You sort of forget to smile; to feel gratitude; to be more gentle towards yourself. Because this mean, perplexing, punishing, uphill task of a life takes it all out of you. If only you had a voice telling you it isn’t so bad after all. If only you had someone to share your grief with. If only someone would listen…

A depressed friend wrote to me. it’s the only rant I’ve ever read with the clarity of a cloudless sky. What we often forget are the Sun, Moon and Stars that light it up, day and night. Which is why the cure for depression may just be the restoration of our memories.

Hey George,

As we find ourselves bitten by the D-bug, I thought writing to you might help us both debug. In any case, every minor fix might just put us back together – better, braver, stronger. Perhaps, we can learn ‘to be sorrowful, yet always rejoicing’ as Vincent Van Gogh hoped to be. This whole bullying need to be happy is nauseating anyway.

This might drain you and be a strain to read. A lot of it, I reckon, will be relatable. At least you’ll know you aren’t the only one. And so will I.

It’s like I have this deadweight on me. But it’s a vampire of sorts. That feeds on my blood and sucks me dry. I feel empty and life just slows down. And I rarely ever have the energy to accelerate. The vampire comes like a nightmare, for no reason or occasion. Actually, there is a reason: to psyche me out. It makes me look and feel older than my years.

What makes it tougher is that the rest of the world seems to be enjoying themselves. And I can’t help look at it through dark-tinted glasses. Things, moments, activities that usually brought me pleasure, have ceased to. For you, the pleasure giving alcohol and tobacco and copious amounts of food aren’t sources you can turn to anymore. Of course it’s depressing and dispiriting (every pun intended). The vampire ruins my appetite. That might be fortunate for you. But you will agree it’s not healthy. He’s chewed up my memory (I’ve forgotten how to smile with heart and eyes and have gratitude for the good around me) and quaffed my ability to concentrate. Doing anything or going anywhere with this vampire on my butt requires superhuman strength. Strength I often cannot locate because I don’t try to look for it.

At social dos, he squeezes out any confidence I have and runs off with it, leaving me astray and simply absent. Of course people have found out. And they’re judgmental. What’s happened to me all of sudden? I used to be the liveliest wire. Well, at the very least, I was around you know, alive, there. I should tell them what’s up – why I’m so down. But there’s such a stigma associated with this condition. I mean how do I go up to people and tell them I’ve gone nuts? That everything feels like a big, bad dream. That there’s a vampire boring holes into my being with his fangs and I have no clue how to wrestle with him or wrench him off or shoo him away.

But keeping up this emotional lie is exhausting.

This parasite makes me think and say and feel negative things. He makes me irritable and difficult to be around; permanently annoyed. I don’t know why friends and family put up with me. I know you must feel the same. It’s a curse to be the worst version of yourself. And all this behavior, it’s knowingly and unknowingly to me, propelled by the vile demon. He takes my love and everything good about me and buries it into some bottomless black hole.

I wake up at odd hours of the night, unable to go back to sleep because my brain is bugged with destructive tendencies and self-deprecating thoughts and glutted with pessimism. It’s highly repetitive, this stream of gloom and doom. I pre-decide how exhausted I’m going to be. Incapable of making it through the day. And the fear of that doesn’t let me drag myself out of bed.

Time has passed and I’ve done nothing about it. The bloodsucker has gotten bigger and bruised me more brutally. He also hangs around all the time. I try to confront him, with all the scraps of strength I can muster, but he always comes out on top. Being pinned down is just easier than having to get up again. And so, I try to self-medicate. Of course it doesn’t help!

Now isolated from everything and everyone, in stormy seas, my raft about to capsize, the brute has crushingly taken over my life. He’s hijacked it!

Very often, I’m bursting with rage. Very soon after, my rage dies down because it fatigues me. Being depressed isn’t about feeling a bit downcast or sad or low. It’s worse. It’s sometimes about being devoid of feeling altogether. And that’s a scary place to be. It’s not human. Sometimes your stony; other times your fragile. Your eyes lose colour. They’re just vacant.

When you misplace all joy in life and can’t, for the life of me, remember where I’ve kept it, you begin to question what the point of it is. If you have answers George, if you look for answers, if you find answers, if you remember where you kept your joy, share your breakthroughs with me, please. I implore you! Show me the path. Show us the path.

Hanging by a thin thread but maybe I can somersault my way back up. And if you’re on the edge, hang in there and pull me up, if you will.

Olivia.

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