Yesterday you won, again. You convinced someone that death is the only way to be rid of you. This one better known than many, Mr. Robin Williams. You have succeeded in depriving him of his life, his family and friends of his love, people of his generous nature and enormous talent and reminded me of how painful you are, how wretched your nature. You eat what little time we have in this life and you rip people from their loved ones leaving devastation in your wake.
Depression, you are mockingly cruel. You spread your bile among millions, yet you manage to isolate us and tell us we are all alone. You tell us that we are no good. You tell us that we are not smart or too smart. You tell us that we are not liked, not loved. You tell us that things will NEVER get better, only darker. You tell us that there will only be misery. Others of us, you numb. Nothing matters, everything is flat, everything grey, everyday just like the last. You deprive us of our interests. You deprive us of our emotions or bury us in them. You give us no middle ground. You shame us into believing that even having you is weakness on our part so we don’t talk about it. You tell us this using our OWN voices, our OWN words and convince us that this is true.
Depression, you are incredibly clever. You convince us that WE are the disease, that we are BURDENS to everyone we know. You thieve and hide every opportunity. You cloak every good moment, kind word, small gift, the smallest ray of hope to only shine a light on every misstep, every hurtful word, every human foible and cast it as failure, further demonstrating our general unworthiness. You demand nothing less than perfection in every aspect of our lives. You have us convinced that human frailties are personal failures, victories, mere accidents of fortune. Or we just don’t care. Brilliant.
Depression, your lies are incessant. The only thing we can attempt to control is how loudly you drone on in our heads. You can scream at the top of your lungs driving us underground and away from everything, everyone we love to escape you. We seek drink, drugs, fortune, fame to drown you out, making things worse for ourselves. When things are going well and and we are able catch a moment of peace, you lean in and whisper “You don’t deserve this.” Or tell us this is not important, this doesn’t matter and we become hypnotized by you. At at your loudest and cruelest, we are brought to our knees. Some of us are able to see enough to reach out of the hands of friends and loved ones who will pull us back up to our feet and will help us as we slowly learn to walk under your weight and, over time, tune you out. When we stumble again, start to feel numb again, some of us are lucky enough to remember that you, Depression, are completely full of shit and we can get up again, reach out for help and be well. For far too many of us, however, you are so blinding, so deafening that we can not see the outstretched hands of loved ones, can not hear their words of love and pleading encouragement and will never rise again. Too heavy with sadness or too apathetic to reach out.
Yesterday you took a man whose mind had myriad brilliant, kind, fucked-up-in-the-best-of-ways, haunted, pained voices and thoughts in his head and convinced him to choose the thought that silenced them all.
You took several others yesterday, too. You took many more today. You will take many more tomorrow.
You don’t deserve to win him. You don’t deserve to win any of us.
So, what now, Depression? How can we help fight against you? We can talk about you. Those of us who have suffered from, still have bouts with you, Depression, need to speak up. The more we talk about you, the more people realize how common you are, the more we learn about you, the less stigmatized you become, the less powerful your hold on people, the more people will reach out for help. Those of us who have come out from under the your weight need to share our stories. Let it be known that we too have struggled. And share when we struggle still. We need to talk about this. Talk about this. Talk about this. Talk about this so that our collective voices can cut through your bullshit noise and fog enough for those still on their knees to hear us say, “We’ve been here. You can do this. You want this.” and see open hands ready to help them up, have some wins of our own.