I am having my students write open letters as a part of their end of year memoir projects, so since I’m doing the project with them I decided to write an open letter to depression.
An open letter to my depression:
To my depression,
I would say, “Dear Depression” but then you haven’t been a dear. You are the monster that lurked beneath my bed in childhood; the evil beast I knew to look for and fear before I even knew what you were. You were the faceless stranger, the dark shadow that lied in wait until I was ready for the taking.
Your grip is like the constriction of a thousand boa constrictors. Not that I’ve ever met a boa constrictor but I can imagine. I think their hold must be firm and unrelenting. I imagine that they have one purpose and that purpose is lethal. I am nothing but a meal to you, another soul to devour. You are out for blood. My blood. People don’t get that about you, how convincing a liar you can be when you’re in pursuit of a life. You tell me that I’m worthless. You tell me no one cares. You tell me that everyone would be better off without me. But, I know. I know these are lies.
You are the hands of men and the hands of no one. You are the times I needed love but got scolded instead. You are the times I was rejected and the times I was devoured. You are all that is nasty and dirty in the world. You are everything and nothing. You’re a thief. You steal joy. You steal the will to live. You steal hope. You blot out light. You work your hardest to steal my voice. But, you won’t. You can’t. Not mine. I’m speaking out against you. I’m letting people know who you really are because enough is enough.
This is how I see you, depression. You’re a nuisance. My nemesis. You overpower. You devour. But people don’t get that about you, not unless they’ve fought the battle for themselves. How do you do it? How do you convince people that it is us, the sufferers, who are selfish? How are you so good at hiding in plain sight? You make what should be known, unknown. You’re a skilled craftsmen. You weave a web of lies so intricate that even the greatest of geniuses couldn’t untangle the riddle. I don’t get it. I don’t get you.
How can I have lived most of my life in your company and yet, still, be baffled by who or what you are? Or, maybe, it isn’t so much what you are but how you are. I don’t understand how people cannot see your lies because to me they’ve become so obvious. Except when I am in your grip. When you’ve got your claws in me I see nothing. I see nothing and I see everything. I see how people judge me. I see how I judge myself. But I’m helpless to do anything about it because you’re so heavy. Perhaps you’re the weight that Atlas carried. Perhaps you’re the weight of the world, bringing down humanity.
Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. All just speculation. And no certainty.