head high, heavy heart

I have been having a hard time.

I couldn’t tell you the moment I realized I was depressed. Maybe it was one of those “gradually, then suddenly” sort of things. Maybe it was when I was a child and felt like I wasn’t having as much fun doing the same things as all the other kids. Maybe it was when I was sitting in a fancy office paying $150 dollars an hour for somebody to tell me things I’d long realized myself. For a long time, I felt like I was just really fucking bored. A lot of the time I still feel really fucking bored. Personally, being depressed was easy at first. Or at least I thought it was easy. I didn’t have to do anything and that was okay because I didn’t want to do anything. It was a lingering existential malaise that I could just sleepwalk through. But it’s not that simple and it’s not that shallow. It runs deep. It’s a little bit of poison in your bloodstream. It’s a shadowy place in the back of your once sharp mind.

It was easy until the anxiety set in. They’re not so distant cousins, anxiety and depression. More often than not, they coexist and work together as a sinister sort of force intent on consuming you. And they do, and they will. It was easy to lay in bed in the dark, until I felt like I couldn’t breathe. It was easy to make excuses to cancel plans with friends, until I ended up in the emergency room. It was easy to tell myself I was still in control, until I counted how many pills a day I was taking.

So, you see your doctors. You talk it out. You fill your prescriptions. You wax and you wane. It becomes a familiar song and dance. It’s cyclical. Psychiatric medication is at times less of a science and more of a dark art. There is an arcane element to all of this. I feel like I lose a piece of myself each time I get on this ride. I try not to think of what I may have already lost, because I don’t want to add up all of those days. I don’t want to exist in a world of wishes and what-if’s, because wishes and what-if’s don’t mean anything. I try not to analyze where the chemicals end and where who I still am begins. I try.

There’s a lot that they don’t tell you about depression. They can’t tell you. You have to find these things yourself.

They don’t tell you about the hazy mornings where you stare at the ceiling and realize you don’t have an answer for how you’re going to make it through the day. They don’t tell you about the restless, endless nights where it feels like everyone, everywhere is out living the life they were meant for while you’re entirely isolated and left to your own devices. They don’t tell you how to come to terms with the feeling that you don’t deserve to feel the way you do. They don’t tell you about the hollow spaces in between all of those days and nights where you’re trapped in your own head searching for some kind of an exit. There’s no fire escape here. There is no backdoor.

Above all things, depression is a thief. It will steal moments away from you. You will lose people you once cared so deeply for. You will try to find answers where there are no answers to be found. You are going to hurt people. People are going to hurt you. You are going to say things you do not mean to say. I feel like so much of my time is now spent attempting to make up for these moments and memories and people who I’ve lost and things I’ve missed out on. I don’t know if those things can be made up for. I’m not sure if those gaps can ever really be filled. Your life will have wounds that you wonder how time could ever smooth them over, with even as much time as you somehow find the patience to wait. I will keep waiting. I will keep trying. I don’t know how to do anything else.

Depression is not so much of a fight as it is a siege. It wears you down. You get tired. I’m tired. God, we’re all so fucking tired. And after so long there is a sort of comfort in the sense of sadness you’ve grown within you. This secret garden of despair and fear that has found a way to blossom amidst your darkness. It can be difficult to understand who you are as a person separate from your depression. Some days, I don’t know who I am apart of that. Some days, I don’t know if I am someone apart of that.

But I can still laugh. I can still feel love. My hair still stands on end when I hear my favorite songs. I still smile so big when I remember your face. And I can do these things with the perspective and experience of just how dark the darkness can really be. And that means something. It has to mean something. I can still find all these brilliant and beautiful little moments of sunlight. I just wish I didn’t have to look so hard.

Hey. I’m sorry. I hope that you understand. You understand, don’t you? It’s just that I’ve been having a hard time.

But I wanted to let you know that it’s okay if you’ve been having one as well.

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