Recently I have found myself, yet again, under the influence of my old nemesis Depression; that cruel mistress who emotionally blackmails me with her infinite knowledge of my deepest fears and darkest secrets.
She stares out of mirrors at me, tirelessly judging me and explaining with such delicate precision why I am the most unattractive and worthless creature that the world has ever known. My bedroom is haunted by her as she climbs into my bed, tightens her grip and denies me sleep, to instead fill my head with more darkness.
In my kitchen, she sits calmly and tells me there is no reason cook for just myself before reminding me that I don’t deserve to eat anyway – it will just make me even fatter. As I watch television, in an attempt to drown her out, she taps me on the shoulder and whispers in my ear that life isn’t like it appears in those films; people do die alone and unloved.
If I try to make it to the shower, she tells me there is no point in washing – that last shred of self-respect, keeping myself clean, is taken from me as she reminds me that I won’t be going out today and I realise I’m a prisoner in my own home. Again. And finally, as I try to reach out for help from those I love, she asks me why on earth do I think they would care?
After all these years of being such a burden, never seeming to improve despite the treatments and opportunities I am given, my loved ones must be tired of me. Tired of trying to fix someone they can’t understand, for they cannot hear what Depression has poisoned my mind with.
But this time, it will be different – I know Depression’s tricks. I know her lies and her deceit and it is not my first time doing battle with her. She is the bully within my mind who is trying desperately to pull me down to her level of insecurity, so that she won’t be alone. Terrified that I will begin to ignore her, that her power will be lost and I might begin to have a life without her influence. Not that she will ever leave, I expect she will be with me until the end, but I am learning to live with her better.
I fight constantly to find light for her darkness, hope for her fear and companionship for her isolation. I try to let people, most of all myself, love me. On days when she is quiet and not paying me attention, I stock my cupboards with simple healthy food so that I need never eat poorly while she taunts me. When she keeps me from sleeping, I defiantly rest until she tires of her torment. When her cruel words hurt me and she pours salt in my wounds, I try to pity her and her constant need to bring me down.
I ask her gently to be quiet now, while I do something that I love – write, sing, read, speak with my loved ones or reach out to those who have also done battle with her. I channel her into my creativity and thank her for giving me the power to understand others who are suffering at her hands. I ask for help and accept it from anyone who offers it; in turn, I willingly give help to anyone who asks. Most importantly, I remember that this too shall pass. For although Depression is the darkest part of me and sometimes I fear that darkness will never end, I am teaching myself to remember that from even the darkest of nights, the sun always rises again.