Why I (don’t) talk about my depression
I always open delicate conversations with the safest of topics- the weather, an accident on the news, more weather, "How stifling the weather is today! And err, on the subject of stifling, did you know most millennials suffer from one form of depression or another?"
My father raises a cursory eyebrow, eyes already wavering towards the television channel showing little peaks and crests of the stock market. "Well, if you people these days like being depressed..." He lets the sentence hang in the air, and I quickly shove aside the next couple of them that I have lined up, "I think I might be...", "I think I need hel-" I bite my tongue and cut it off and the drawing room goes back to its normal mid Sunday stupor.
Cut to another Sunday afternoon months ago in my mother’s kitchen, "Depression is a luxury of those who don’t have to worry about their life", she declares. "I don’t sleep nights without nightmares.", I murmur. "You sleep all day" "Yes" "Exactly my point" she goes back to adding the fifth spice. Exactly, I mumble in my head so as to avoid the precise moment where our understandings bounce off in parallel arcs.
"I still don’t sleep nights." I say a year later. "I need a therapist." "Sure", says mother and goes back to talking about what she’ll make me for lunch. She has already dragged me to the doctor twice this week for a throat infection, "Putting off treatment for an illness is most idiotic." She declares in the same tone that she uses when she says "Depression is a luxury".
Perhaps it’s because depression doesn’t always come with a fever and visible signs, or even with someone locking themselves up in their room for ages. Sometimes it’s quieter, sneakier- the understanding that when I can’t get out of bed on some days, it’s not because I’m lazy. Sometimes it is letting the knife on the far-off shelf stay there.
Sometimes depression is a Dementor and I’m fully capable of casting a Patronus, but they don’t see how hard it is to keep it up at all times. Sometimes I am the Dementor and the preferred dietary choice is the soul and not chocolate. Even as they ask "How are you?", ears filtered to receive the words they wish to hear, I choose, on most days to stick to safer topics. The weather, accidents, more weather.