it’s very grey outside today. looking out of the window to see this a few months ago could have brought me to tears. perhaps stopped me from getting out of bed in the morning. potentially stopped me from eating anything for that day. i would have sat silently in a cold room, trying desperately to grasp reality, everything seemingly slipping through my fingers.
having depression is like having another version of yourself within you, one that does all of the talking. she reminds you that life is slipping through your fingers, sneering at the fact you don’t know how to fix that. you’re not alone when you have depression as she is always with you. she is with you even when you have no need for company; when you are with your friends or your family or a stranger. she puts a smile on your face and hides beneath your skin. she puts on display that she is not there, absent for now. this is how she survives in her rental body. this is how she grows stronger.
you’re exhausted. she needed more energy today so you gave her all you had. you resent her but she is a part of you. she tells you she is all you have got and you believe her. you cannot rationalise what she tells you, but you believe her anyway.
she manifests herself so deeply underneath your skin that you hurt yourself to let her breathe. she binds your chests tightly together. neither of you breathe. you plunge into deep, dark water. she clings to your skin, her grip strengthens, the harder you fall. the deeper you fall.
it’s softer down there. less harsh around the edges. there is still natural light shooting through the water in bright and frayed beams. the light doesn’t alarm you like it used to, it is welcoming, hypnotic and peaceful. closing your eyes you allow yourself to imagine what the inside of a heart could possibly look like. it’s strings, it’s passages, it’s atriums. a human heart in all of it’s wonder: vulnerable yet so strong, so powerful.
10th of november 2015
this tuesday morning i came to realise that my heart was a stronger, more integral part of my being then she ever could be. the heart fights for you when you cannot fight for yourself. the heart, in all it’s complex fragility, is so, so incredibly strong. my heart is me. it is embodied in the same entity as the rest of me. the parts of me that she owns and the parts of me that she does not own. she will eventually surrender to my strong heart.
10th october 2017
i am writing this piece retrospectively, trying to encapsulate everything i could possibly feel about this subject in the only way i know how.
it is world mental health day today; the second world mental health day since the day i woke up from that poisonous haze. i had been told to man up. i had been told to stop seeking attention. she had told me to take those many sleeping pills, and i had listened.
but the thing is, she did eventually surrender to my strong, strong heart. she is just as much a part of me as some treatable disease and she has no authority over me anymore.
don’t ‘man up’. start talking. do not let her maintain her authority over you. talk about her. you are as strong and beautiful as the heart that beats relentlessly inside of you, and nothing less.
Artwork by Emma Bradley