I can’t even imagine how much of my time I have wasted agonizing over how I can possibly write about my depression in such a way that people will get it. How can I write about depression in way that they can finally see it, finally feel it, finally get a taste of it on their tongues. How can I arrange all my words about my depression so that they get it now, they get how real and severe mental illness is once and for all… and so now.. now they will all finally believe me…
Too much time. I’ve spent far, far too much time. And I am no longer going to bend over backwards anymore to try and make someone take my depression seriously. It destroyed 15 years of my life. Just take my word for it. Or don’t. I couldn’t care less anymore. I am going to scream and howl and throw the furniture around ether way. Call me a selfish brat. Call me a manipulative attention-whore. I will reply with a hiss.
I am going to rip this out of me one way or another. Look away or don’t. I’m not going to apologize if my words bum you out. If anything, I’ll take some evil satisfaction in making you uncomfortable with my insistent talk of death and depression. I’ll throw a rock through the window of your ‘good vibes only’ cafe.
Oh? Just choose happiness?? Wait a minutes—so you’re telling me that all this goddamn time that’s all I had to do?? Are you fucking kidding me?? Just raise my vibrational frequency and visualize all the cool shit I want and it’ll manifest itself before my eyes? How the fuck did I miss this?? God! If only I had just stopped being so damn negative I could have been scamming the universe this whole time?? Fuck. I really blew it.
Call me negative. Call me lazy. Call me selfish. Shake your head with condescending pity. If only I had decided to just grow up and accept responsibility for myself I could have snapped out of this years ago. If only I would just wake up and become conscious of the present moment!
If only I knew all that you do!! If only I would get over myself and just embrace your spiritual revelations! If only I too had an out-of-body near-death experience and saw a bunch of angels! Then I too would get that I am an expression of the One, of All That Is And Ever Will Be. That divine consciousness courses through my veins. That all I had to do to be liberated from pain is to forgive and love myself! And let go of negativity! And stop playing the victim!
Tell me that I am strong. Tell me that I’m not alone. Tell me that you are here for me.
And I will watch you dip out at the first indication of murky water. Report me and bombard me with requests to call the National Suicide Hotline because I spent one day in bed and wrote some depressing tweets about it. I will laugh in your face because the last two times I called the Hotline they kept me on hold for 10 minutes and then those bitches hung up on me! Nevertheless better they deal with me than you. Hotlines are the surefire way to go.
Tell me it’s good. Tell me it’s all good. Tell me I’m all good.
Go ahead and shush me and shake your head impatiently as I crumble in a howling wail on the bathroom floor. You cannot see the engulfing tempest flaying my mind and my soul. You can’t see it so how bad can it honestly be? You can’t see it so how can you be so sure that it exists at all?
You can’t see gravity. You can’t see sound. Do you ever doubt their existence?
Tell me this is all in my head. I’m sorry—what? No shit this is all in my head, dumbass.
So much exists beyond your worldview. So much exists despite your ideologies. You have your way you wish to see things. You retreat and look away from all that threatens it. You have your stories you like to hear. You have your rules you demand the universe yield to. You like your order, your assumptions, your version of what is true. But life cannot exist without chaos.
Sometimes a person suffers and then rises triumphantly from the ashes and conquers her adversity. You like those stories. You like its message of perseverance and faith.
I see you drawing near to me now as I am on the upswing. And oh how inspiring! How wonderful! Will you all finally follow me on Instagram now? Now that I’m all hope and grit and strength and passion? All that pain and darkness and ugliness of my past is relevant only to serve as reference for how far I have come—you have to know it’s there because it’s part of the story but don’t actually take me there. It puts me in a dark headspace. Oh my. God forbid. A dark headspace. How horrible. I can’t help but sneer.
And here you are, wide hungry eyes. Thank you for your story! Thank you for speaking out! Arms outstretch—I’m so glad you’re still here! I can totally relate, you know, I get sad sometime too! Do you now? That does sometimes happen, I hear.
Do you want to know what it’s like to be in such anguish that suicide legitimately appears to be your only option? Do you want me to take you there? I whisper huskily in your ear. Not particularly? I can’t blame you.
Oh, but the art! The art!! The poetry that spews from the tormented soul! The music she unleashes once she’s climbed out from her grave! The prose she proclaims with her frenzied urgency! The art makes it all worth it. The movie that’s not afraid to, you know, like, go there.
Tell me to break my silence once I’ve extracted the meaning of it all. Tell me to offer it up once I’ve wrapped it all up in a box and put a bow on it. Break my silence once I’ve found the wisdom from all that.
I will. I certainly will. I intend to enjoy my time up here. Standing tall and proud, for once, on top of this wheel. Come round if you feel so inclined. Call me great. Call me amazing. Dance around in a circle and cry out #FuckDepression and all that jazz. Come. Revel in my story. Whatever it is that my experience has given me, I will gladly share it.
But don’t act all surprised when I’m not beside myself and speechless and tearful by how #blessed I am now for the privilege of your attention. How lucky I am now that you want to read my words. That tree that falls alone in a field—if no one is there to see it, does it make a sound? I suppose I no longer have to worry about that anymore.
Or will I?
For where will you be, dare I even ask, should the wheel turn once again? Will you still be there when my story no longer serves you? What will come should it devour me once again? Should all the life drain out of me yet again and I become a breathing corpse, will you still stay? When the sunlight burns, and the air presses down, dense and thick, will you flee like everyone else? When the sheer power of your presence and your kindly words aren’t enough to lift me out of my grave in a single sitting will you grow awkward and nervous, and conjure up an excuse to bail? Would that be the last I ever see of you?
Forgive me my shadiness. Forgive me my vague hostility. I actually do like people, believe it or not. But I am no stranger to the ways people can be. I am no stranger to the ways in which people pay lip service to support, to awareness, to eradicating stigma. To uplifting the sick, the poor, the downtrodden with their occasional long-winded, poorly edited essays in the captions of their Instagram posts. All the things people do to prove to the world that they’re woke too. All the things people will to do convince you that they will be there for you should the lights go out once again.
It’s nothing personal, I know. You claim to love how ‘real’ I am but that isn’t fully true. You lap up my ‘realness’ when it plays into the stories you wish to hear but get fidgety and click unfollow as soon as they don’t. I used to agonize over that. But I will no longer play that game. I will no longer play by your rules. No more. Never more.
Call me creepy. Call me morbid. Call me deviant. Call me wild and disruptive. I bare my teeth and grin. Now we are getting somewhere, you and I. This is the monster you have created. This monster that will not cooperate with your continued insistence on being coddled from words that make you squirm. It will not cooperate with you at all, in fact. So proceed with caution.
Amor fati. It loves all that is and all that is that it’d rather it wasn’t. Life doesn’t come with a filter pack to make it seem more palatable and less terrifying, so stop pretending that it does.
One day you will die. One day everyone you love will die. How do you plan to live before all life is devoured by the sun?
Run, run, run as fast as you can—run from the light that demands you acknowledge the possibility that you may be insignificant, you may be ordinary, you may not be destined for greatness. Run from the awful, overwhelming totality of all the suffering in the world that casts and inconvenient shadow over your midsummer picnic. Run, run, run as fast as you possibly can, to anything at all that hints that you can eat. pray. love. all you want but sometimes things still suck and tragedy can cast you down and things won’t make any sense.
Does it freak you out a little bit to think that one day you will die? Have you ever considered how positively dreadful immortality would be? Does it ever piss you off when things aren’t as you think they should be or don’t go your way? Have you ever wondered what life would be like in a perfect utopia? Is it just me or does paradise sound boring?
Should the day ever come that you should fall to your knees, absolutely sick with exhaustion—I assure you that it is possible to make it through. When you are done finally running from life in all it’s magnificent and horrible totality—I promise you that life after death is possible.
Come around and find me should that day ever come.
And I will be here.
Life is grand and life is terrible and life is glorious.
It will never be anything but all that it is.
And never again will this thing that I now am ever live in denial of it.