The only truth about depression is there is no truth in depression.

Everything is a lie.

Everything your brain tells you is false. You are not a failure. You are not unloved, nor are you a social pariah. You are not doomed to a mediocre existence, clinging to some false hope while those around you claim glory and joy that should have been yours, living lives you had always hoped for.

You are not. Do not believe it, any of it.

And yet of course you will. How could you do otherwise? Your brain is very clever. It wraps you up in a cocoon where it can whisper to you in the dark. It keeps you in there so you cannot look down at yourself, your beautiful self, and see the truth, see the extent to which you have been tricked. It keeps you bound up tightly so you can’t escape. Why would you want to, when you could so easily sleep? You imagine how peaceful it might be to sleep all the way to the bottom of a great ocean and to float in the dark, no longer weighted by this invisible force.

Everything is a lie except the way your body seems to give in to that invisible force. The way you sink into a quicksand, your limbs weighted down by something you push against feebly. You will think about it, wish you could move. How, you will wonder, and when did it all become so impossibly difficult?

From a well-meaning friend will come the exhortation to “get some exercise!” and you will hate the way that truth sounds, how alien and unwelcome it feels. Any truth will seem like the enemy, like an invasive species you must destroy before it takes over, a vine that threatens to overrun the landscape and work its way back to the light.

The truth will exhaust you. Everything will exhaust you, except staying very still and contemplating the vastness of the many lies your brain tells you. How real they seem, how inescapable. They’ve been here before, and maybe this time they’ll settle in for good.

You will count the days in a row you cry and try to remember how many exceeds what might be considered “normal.”

Maybe it’s all true. Maybe I should just hide forever.

And then one day, you will think: maybe forever is a little too long. You will let someone in, and they in turn will let in the light simply by being there with you.

A Year of Wednesdays

One essay a week, every Wednesday, for a year.

    Leah Reich

    Written by

    Every Wednesday, I write: and

    A Year of Wednesdays

    One essay a week, every Wednesday, for a year.

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