“Today my forest is dark. The Trees are sad and all the butterflies have broken wings.” – Raine Cooper
I just can’t shake this feeling. I was okay for a while. My world had become colourful once again. I had even found my smile. I was in control, or at least, I felt like I was. And suddenly it hit me – out of nowhere – and I became sad for no reason at all. Just like that. As though somewhere in my body a switch had been turned off, and all I was left with was darkness.
You see, it happens like that. Sometimes I’m fine, and other times I’m not. Sometimes, I get sad. So sad, I forget my smile. So sad, my laughter is no more. So severely overwhelmed by everything, even the smallest things make me break down and cry.
Come to think of it, it’s not so much a feeling of sadness or being overwhelmed, but a feeling of total and utter emptiness.
Depression is more than those artsy black and white images splattered over the walls of Tumblr. It’s more than just a feeling of sadness, hopelessness and despair. Depression is dark, twisted and the evil of all evils. The way it follows me like a stygian shadow. The way it pounces on me when I’m least expecting. The way it sucks the life out of my being and leaves me barely alive but still breathing. So hollow inside. Just a carcass with a beating heart.
As I curl up on the ground in a foetal position, my world crumbles around me. The walls are tearing apart. I feel so vulnerable. So exposed to a world that doesn’t understand me. A world that is oblivious to my pain. A world that has become mute and drained of all colour. I feel nothing. Nothing at all.
And all I am left with is a mind so engulfed in this thick grey mist, I can no longer see clearly. A hauntingly-distorted drone of white noise drowns out everything. Everything except for this pain inside my head. A pain that has started to leak into my body. My muscles ache and my limbs become heavy. The simple things become the equivalent to a mountain climb. I am weak. So weak and pathetic.
Life becomes one long battle between a body striving to survive and a mind hell-bent on shutting down.
And me? I guess I lost myself somewhere in the darkness.
Sometimes the world stands still and I yearn for it to move faster. Other times, it hurdles by whilst I stare blankly at a wall, blissfully dreaming up a life that doesn’t so closely resemble the hell that I am breathing. The hell that is DEPRESSION.
And yet, here I am. The Eccedentesiast. Broken inside but laughing on the outside. Faking a smile because it’s so much easier than explaining why I feel so empty. If only I knew. If only I knew why I feel so truly rotten. If only I knew why I loathe my reflection. If only I knew why I long for the ground to swallow me up whole.
And so I find myself desperately trying to barricade my tears from falling, when all I want to do is break down and cry. I find myself silently sobbing in the shower, only to walk out like nothing ever happened. I find myself saying “I’m okay!”, even though I am falling apart.
To the outside world, I am that person who has their shit together. Because this smile I hide behind; it conceals my injured soul. It hides the bottled up pain that scratches to be free. My mask. My facade. My master disguise. No one will ever know how truly broken I am, and yet I’m screaming out for someone to merely acknowledge that I’M NOT OKAY.
I am drowning.
Sinking down under.
Suffocating while everyone else is breathing.
And I am so scared that, one day, I won’t float back up to the surface. That I won’t ever breathe life again. That I won’t ever feel normal.
Fear takes over and silence ensues. I want to scream out these feelings that claw from within, but instead, I find myself sat across the table from my husband, unable to utter three lousy words to him. He thinks it’s all his fault, but it’s not. It’s me. I just can’t snap out of it. I so desperately want to feel normal. To feel alive again. To make it STOP. I want to be happy but yet something inside me screams “YOU DO NOT DESERVE IT!”
I become trapped. I fear failure and yet I have no urge to be productive. I want to be alone but I don’t want to be lonely. I feel everything at once, and yet, nothing at all.
I’m exhausted from trying to be stronger than I am. I’m exhausted from pretending that I’m okay when I am not. I’m exhausted from fighting my way through EVERY … SINGLE … DAY!
I’m tired of trying
I’m tired of hoping
I’m tired of coping
I’m tired of existing
And sometimes I want to drop everything and run away. Just grab my shit, and leave. For days, weeks …or maybe forever. Just disappear from my life. Be gone, as if I were never here.
But then the dark cloud descends and my fake smile crashes to the ground. And as the sun hits my face, I allow my tears to slowly roll down my cheeks. For the first time in a long time, I feel like the old me. Happy me.
Like a shadow, my depression will always be there, discreetly looming and ready to pounce. But there will be good days and there will be dark ones. Days when black rivers run into my pillow. Days when I secretly fall apart. Days when I don’t feel like talking, eating or anything, for that matter. And there will be days when euphoria runs through my veins once again and I feel alive. Truly alive. And it is during these moments, I realise how truly blessed I am.
I am no longer just surviving, I am living.