A Letter From my Depression

This was taken around the same time this letter was written

This is an unfiltered account of the pain I felt at the lowest point in my adult life. This wasn’t written to be published, it was barely written to be read.

It contains nihilistic language and mentions of suicide so please proceed with caution.

There’s no ironic detachment or insincerity to be found here, only the kind of vulnerable intimacy that pours out when you put pain to paper.


Monday, June 27, 2016

Dear Mare,

Please don’t read this if it would be burdensome, my mental health is not your encumbrance. I’m just very sad and I wanted to put it on paper.

You can never talk to me about it and I wouldn’t mention it. I wish I could write something meaningful or insightful but all I’ve written is an account of pain.

I wake up every morning and immediately regret it.

The rest of the day is mostly a blur.

I eat at some point; everything tastes horrible and has for months.

I try to distract myself but there always ends up being moments where the pain sears through.

I am in so much pain. All the time, for no reason, with no end in sight. It started out as just mental and emotional pain but now the physicality is so prominent.

I lie awake in bed for at least an hour every night. There is a sharp pain and weight on my chest and a bitter sinking feeling in my stomach. Those nights used to be rare but now only their absence is notable.

I am so tired of it. I am so tired of living. I don’t think I want to die but it’s all I think about.

I feel like I am so far from being able to function in this world. Things hurt me more than they should. Things bore me more than I want them to. Everything feels infinitely harder and it all stems from innate parts of who I am. Everyone around me seems to have so much less of this constant internal turmoil. I know everyone has their problems and burdens but mine seem to come from nowhere.

I feel like I was born into torture, that my heart and mind are just elaborate mechanisms for administering just enough pain that I don’t kill myself.

I had always wished I had some sort of antagonist, a villain or a problem to solve. So many times people will say “I’d be so happy if this happened” and whether they would be or not they have something that keeps them going.

I wish there was something I could buy or say or do that would alleviate what I call living.

There are 168 hours in a week. I think there are generally about 5 where I feel like living is not a negative state of being. I’m scared. I’m always scared. I’m scared that all this pain is for nothing. I don’t want to have suffered for no reason at all. Even if the things that keep me alive are fleeting if they exist there’s a reason to keep going.

People have reasons to live and I just barely have reasons to not die.

I started writing and painting to give me some reasons not to kill myself. I wouldn’t want to make something for someone and then taint it with my death. I don’t want my gifts to be somber mementos of a tortured soul.

I figured if I had all these little pieces of me scattered around they could carry some of my pain. Art is like a horcrux sometimes, it allows me to break off a little pieces of my soul to give others something that is a part of me. My soul causes me great pain but when exchanged in that way it brings others joy. Those pieces serve as reminders that even though all living does is bring me pain, it has, occasionally, brought others joy.

I know I have helped people, I know I have loved people, and I know I’ve made people laugh. I know what I am and who I am and I know I am loved. But all of these statements come from my mind, they’re statements of knowledge. I feel none of it. I feel like I’m not the person who did those things. I’m just this tortured husk that spends his nights writhing and alone.

I’m so scared. My heart beats out of my chest and my mind thinks in its place. My insides are a mess. I have storms instead of organs and knives where my feelings should be.

When life itself is such a chore, doing just about anything else is grueling.

I just don’t know. I’m ok. None of this is to say that I won’t keep living; none of this is to scare you or anyone else. It’s just to tell someone I’m suffering. I’m suffering so much. I wish I didn’t have to write this, I wish I didn’t have to taint our friendship with an account of my state of crisis. I’m sorry; this is not your burden to bear.

Thank you so much for reading this, it means the world to me; you mean the world to me.


Hassan Eliefifi

Conclusion: One Year Later

This was written last year, at 22. I turn 23 tomorrow and I am in the best place I have ever been. I could prattle on about how ‘it got better’ but I know from experience that that is unhelpful.

I have struggled with depression since I was 13. I was always silent on this topic because I felt more pain than I knew how to express. In that sense this is an exercise in digital solidarity. I hope this helps people understand and verbalize their own struggles.

If you are dealing with anything like this, please keep going. I know this rings hollow but it still needs to be said. Even in your darkest hour know you are loved and you are stronger than your illness.

If you are doing better please help the people around you, be the person you needed back then. Try to work towards a world in which this account is relatable to no one.

I hope this has helped in some way.

Thank you for reading this and have a wonderful day.

I’m planning on writing a sort of companion piece to this on how to aid friends going through mental illness in a way that’s complete, effective and not patronizing. If you’re interested in that please follow me here or elsewhere.
Also, as usual I really want to thank my friend Amr. Without you I would have never had the courage to be vulnerable in this kind of way. I love you so much.
And to Mare, the addressee of this letter and my closest friend, thank you for everything. With no exaggeration I would be dead without you. I could
Like what you read? Give Hassan a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.