Depression is a lot like love.
It will always be a part of you; You might feel that pure snippet of happiness when it dawns on you that you’ve moved on, or mourn the invisible shackles that still bind you to it. Tiny, random things from normal, random days will take you back to the past and make you feel the exact same way you once felt. Most of all, though, it will remind you how utterly fickle you are – you can easily fall all over again. You won’t know it immediately, but the signs will be there. Then one night when you’re trying to make sense of the tears rolling down your cheeks without any reason and the heartbreaking desperation for acknowledgement and love, you will realize that you’ve been here before. Look around you, the chair is now a mountain of unwashed dirty laundry, the present that your friends so lovingly gave you is lying on the floor, the food and new dresses that your mother sent you are lying in the corner; they don’t really matter to you right now. However, you want to believe that they do. I realized today that one takes steps to entice joy, just to ensure that one feels happy for the things that one should ordinarily feel happy about – pushing someone to the light of joy with the hope that they’ll inadvertently gift some of it to you.
I often described depression as a feeling of emptiness. I now know that the description doesn’t do justice to it, because that is not how I feel right now. I feel like there are veins of turmoil throbbing in me but they are filled with emptiness. Perhaps that doesn’t make sense to you, but that- right there- is the whole point.
The last time I felt this way was when I was in High School. I often wonder why my best friends, the ones I spent each day with back then, never caught on to it. I blamed them for being bad friends, as any naïve survivor would. “Perhaps they didn’t care enough to see the signs”, “They probably were too busy worrying about their own issues”, “They were kids and didn’t know better” – These were the justifications that I gave myself on their behalf. Little did I know that I, and only I, was to blame.
I went out with my parents today, and despite the sense of darkness that has been haunting me, I was the poster child for happiness. I made the right jokes at the right time, laughed throughout the conversation and added the right smidgens of dramatics required of me. It was almost mechanical. I was almost mechanical… but there was no way for them to know. It’s even better with my friends. I am the same as I always was. I know at what point I would normally pass a sarcastic comment or give an overly dramatic reaction or just laugh wildly like I’m not really feeling numb inside. It’s all very heartbreakingly normal. Sometimes I caught myself getting lost in my own thoughts of nothingness when I was in the midst of a crowd that I love. Next thing I knew, I’d started to plaster a content smile on my face when I did it. It makes me uncomfortable, this deliberate addition to an absolutely inadvertent act; and all of it just to conceal the truth, the discovery of which is my only hope. Today I gave an overly dramatic speech about my optimism for the times to come and it killed me inside how I could so confidently make such declarations and not even believe an iota of it. I was reacting the way I would have normally, as if I was set in ‘automatic mode’ which facilitated me to say just the right things at the right time for the purpose of seeming normal.That is where the problem lies. How would I ever be able to speak to them about this when all they believe is that everything is normal? I’ve recently become extremely active on social media, like a 14 year old who just joined Whatsapp I chat with everyone who ever mattered to me. I wonder if, in some twisted way, I am daring them to figure it out. Perhaps, despite all my unreasonable and unalterable attempts, somebody will understand.
There are two basic realities that I must face; 1) If you don’t understand your sadness, neither will anybody around you. 2) People believe what you let them believe. As I face them, I realize that this is why I keep losing. This is why, as I sit here pondering over something so devastatingly abstract, I stay silent. Who do I talk to? You could have a hundred people around you who love you unconditionally and they still won’t be able to help you if you don’t let them in.
I want to sit down with someone and tell them this. I want to hug them while I cry my heart out like I’ve been doing for the past few weeks. I can’t, though, and that is because sometimes, you have no one even when you have everyone. While that is a rubbish way to put it, I know no other way.
So, here I lie, writing my heart out. Tomorrow, I will wash my hair and clean my room, hoping that it will help. Knowing that it won’t.