Hey Depression, old pal.
Thought you’d skipped town for good.
You know, back when I quit drinking and decided you were a bad influence. I replaced you with daylight, spirituality and self-care, remember? Started working out and spending my time with Awareness and Presence. Unlike you, they knew how to treat me with respect. Weren’t always trying to rub out my memories and keep my dreams at arm’s length.
I thought I made it perfectly clear that you weren’t welcome around here anymore.
Yet I keep catching glimpses of you creeping around again, under the clutter in my messy house and behind the quinoa in my secret stash of Oreos. There is evidence of you in those extra pounds on the scale, the beers that always find their way into my fridge, and empty bags of M&Ms stashed in the bathroom trashcan.
I don’t remember inviting you back inside, yet here you are. I knew you could never really leave me.
I can feel you sitting right next to me as I stare out the window. I hear your whispered mantras worming into my ears:
“It’s too cold to go outside; stay in bed.”
“Who needs to shower when you’ve got nowhere to go.”
“Makeup is for people with jobs and friends.”
“A few more hours of screen time won’t kill them, as long as they are leaving you alone.”
“Don’t waste your time writing, no one is reading that crap anyway.”
Damn, you’re good.
Your voice is so soothing, how can you be speaking anything but truth? It’s like you know right where to push to hit my softest, weakest places.
Maybe you’d like to have a cup of tea? Stay a while? No – vodka’s more your thing; I remember.
We can ride out this pandemic together, you and I. Wrap me in your heavy arms and make me forget that anything really mattered. Give me some of your Novocain so I can stop feeling like the world is supposed to be sparkling and full of laughter.
Depression is a very real and very debilitating mental health issue, which impacts millions of people at some point in their lives. The prose above was written as a poetic ode to a darkness with whom I have had a long-standing on again/off again relationship. Though I am not currently suffering from a clinical depression, I have been struggling with these disconsolate feelings on a more regular basis as this pandemic drags on.
I know I am not alone. Friends and family have all expressed similar thoughts of despair and hopelessness simmering in the background as we trudge through yet another month of anxiety and isolation.
For me, writing is a healing salve, and sometimes a cleansing purge. I am trying to be aware of the darkness when it drapes around me so that I may more easily slip away from its grasp. To look it in the eye and give it a name allows me to separate my Self (my higher-self, my essence) from the negative emotion, and therefore not get mired in it.
I’m still eating too much “comfort food” most days and struggling to find motivation to get going in the morning. I’m still self-soothing far too often with candy and TV and retail-therapy. But I am dedicated to keeping at least one foot out of the quicksand of Depression.
I am dedicated to continue my search for Joy.