I know depression. I know the anxiety around discussing your pain while in the depths of it. I know the fear of not being taken seriously and being told “it’s a choice.” No one chooses to feel this low and despondent. I know the fear of sending people who care about you into an overreacting panic because they think you’re suicidal. Suicide would require more energy than you can put forth. Getting out of bed is an effort. Showering and putting on clean clothes is an uphill battle. Leave the house? Only if you can summon enough strength to dress yourself in the armor of a superficial smile that won’t cause people to ask questions.
I know living on the verge of tears, feeling like you could cry at any moment and finding that the most unlikely of triggers can start the deluge. I know running to hide your face before anyone can notice and finding a solitary space to sob until you can stop or your eyes run dry. Whichever comes first. I know feeling like a failure. Feeling inadequate and helpless. Feeling like you’ve been knocked flat on your back with no possibility of getting up again. I know neglecting yourself, because you don’t feel worthy of such care and tenderness. I know making deals with God at night; praying that it’ll be over in the morning and, upon realizing that it probably won’t, telling him “it’s okay if I don’t wake up tomorrow.”
I know the irony of trying to tell someone else that their life is worth living while you’re trying to figure out why you’re still here. I know the futility of someone telling you that it’s gonna be okay and that this will pass when you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. There doesn’t appear to be tunnel at all. Just darkness. Just heaviness. I know the anger of hearing someone say “I’ve been there before,” because they aren’t there right now and nothing they can say or do will fix you.
I know the fear of wondering if you’ll ever make it back out of it this time. Wondering if this will be the time it finally takes you out. I know the relief of feeling the fog finally lighten. Looking around and realizing just how bad things got this time. Realizing just how much you let go of yourself. How deeply you sank. I know the fear of it returning, every time you feel any emotion other than happiness. I know being unable to truly enjoy the good days because you know it’s only a matter of time until the other shoe drops and you’re back in the space you loathe and dread. Nothing good lasts forever, and in reality, the depression doesn’t either, but it doesn’t feel like that in the depths of it. These are the things you never tell anyone. This is what you swallow down and pack away as best you can for the sake of those around you. You love them too much let them carry any part of this burden. This looming specter you’d never wish upon another person.