Depression, A Letter
It was very difficult to get up today and all I want to do is return to my bed. All my life I have
been told that my depression is a phase or that I just take on other people’s emotions, quoting one of my therapists. I have had people validate me in appropriate ways and actually help me and love me despite all of my struggles and I will always appreciate them and be grateful for their presence. Since fourth grade I have struggled with this daunting part of me, sometimes as if I am two people, two different personas in one imperfect, pain ridden, enlightened body. Two minds that fight for the spotlight and every few weeks the shadow wins. It overtakes the spot light with a veil of darkness that makes it harder to see everything in the light it was meant to be in. This veil brings doubt, fear, shame, loneliness, fatigue, and an emptiness that I have never been fully able to explain or comprehend. This shadow figure of myself makes my body feel tense, the physical sensations brought upon by the shadow are impossible to fully grasp or share with others. And no matter what, those sensations are often there, despite my efforts to tear down the veil covering the spotlight that is meant for the true part of me that continues to try to fight to get her part in the show back. But sometimes, that part of me is so tired she has to let the understudy take over for a while. So many people I try to talk to about it, give me such basic solutions, as if it will heal the main person and appease the shadow to be okay with being in the background. Just thinking positive can be effective but it is not always the solution. When the shadow takes over the play, the entire storyline changes and it is impossible to get the original script intact until the shadow is finally pulled off the stage by the audience and other members in the cast. Sometimes no amount of exercise, salads, and water are enough to appease my body
ridden with pain, tense muscles, and anxiety. Even pushing myself to do the things I know I
have to do can become a trigger that makes all of those activities even harder. I have tried and I promise I am still trying. But it is important that you, whoever you are, knows that just thinking happy thoughts are not enough, and it will never be enough. Happiness is hard. Let me repeat that, happiness is hard. Being happy is one of the hardest things to do. Having a shadow of myself continually taking over who I am on a regular basis since I was a child and knowing that that shadow is always there, even if it is not forcing itself into the role of an understudy can be debilitating. When I am happy, there is the constant fear that it will be taken away at any point for no good reason because that is what the shadow does. The shadow hates happiness because it makes it uncomfortable, it is too hard to sustain so sometimes the shadow pushes me out of the spotlight to return to that cozy darkness that me and the shadow know so well. I have stopped harming myself to please the shadow so slowly the shadow is fading but I feel I am making it angry. It comes back with intensity that I need to fight through more than I have in the past. Something the kids who made fun of me for cutting will never understand… The bud of the joke continues to horrify and taunt me. Thoughts and urges overpower me, sometimes out of thin air and I have to climb up to the spotlight to try to tear just a little bit of the black veil away in order to stop myself from giving in. There is almost a sense of betrayal to the shadow, we have known each other for so long and crimson was always my gift to the shadow for being there for me. Eleven years. Eleven years of gift giving, halted. Eleven years of habits that now my true self needs to figure out how to live with without giving in. The shadow has almost won but each time I am stronger. The fear is that I will give in and give a gift to make up for the months of holding back. It is an odd back and forth this shadow and I have together. I would gift it something after being so strong for myself but it will never give me anything back in return. So, to those who want to help me, don’t tell me thinking positive will make the shadow go away. I don’t think people understand the amount of guilt that arises in me from hearing that statement. Like I allow the shadow to overpower my main character, like I always have a choice and somehow it is my fault that the understudy wants the spotlight sometimes. Like I am always able to easily reach the dark veil to get it off of my spotlight. Sometimes, yes, I can, but I guarantee, if
I am reaching out; I am too tired to climb the ladder and I feel the audience doesn’t care to help me pull the understudy shadow off the stage. I don’t often reach out because I have learned that when I do, nothing changes. Few things help, and many people really do not understand the way they say they do.