They say that depression is a disease.
But for me, depression is a voice.
A tiny, nagging, Negative Nancy that never shuts up.
Sure, sometimes she gets quiet. Maybe down to a whisper. Sometimes almost inaudible. But she never actually goes away. Not really.
Depression is like having that little devil on your shoulder that you see in old cartoons, constantly feeding you all the thoughts you know you shouldn’t be having, giving you ideas you know you should never act on.
Depression is the little voice that says, “No one cares about you, not really.”
“They only tolerate you. Because they have to. They’re just being nice.”
“This is why you have no friends. You don’t deserve to have friends.”
“But how pathetic does that make you? What sorry excuse for a person has no friends? Even losers have friends.”
It’s the voice that whispers, “Not even he really loves you.”
“He’s only here because he has to be. Because he signed the papers, and getting out would just be too much damn work.”
“You’ll never be as good as his ex. He only settled for you because he couldn’t have her anymore.”
“Sure honey… keep nagging him. Eventually it’s just gonna push him away. Hell, right now he’s probably only one more of your passive-aggressive meltdowns away from just walking out the door. If you want to save your marriage you should just put your head down and deal with all the shit yourself.”
“Why is he even with you? There’s nothing to you… not a damn thing about you that makes you interesting anymore. No wonder he’s always talking to someone else.”
“How could he possibly want to be with someone as broken as you are?”
“You’re so fat, so ugly, so inept that you couldn’t possibly satisfy him. God… you can’t even fill that role for him anymore. How useless are you?”
It’s the voice that yells in your ear, “It’s not ever going to get any better than it is right now. There’s no point in trying.”
“Man, if you thought today was impossible to get through, just wait. If you wake up tomorrow it’s just gonna be more of the same. And so will the day after that, and the day after that, and the day after that…”
“No matter what you do, the outcome will still be terrible. Moving won’t fix your problems. Then you’ll just have to find another job – which you’ll undoubtedly hate – and the financial stress will drive a wedge into your marriage, and your children will suffer, and you’ll, yet again, have to face the fact that you still don’t have any friends. And you still won’t be happy.”
“You don’t deserve to have anything better than this. You can’t even be grateful for what you have.”
“God… if you can’t even handle the one baby you have now, what makes you think you’ll ever deserve to have another?”
“And why is this so hard for you to deal with anyway? That person over there is handling things just fine. Millions of people all over the world have it way worse than you do, but here you sit, spoiled little first-world brat, feeling sorry for herself.”
The night is dark and full of terrors. That’s when it’s the loudest. At the end of the day, when you remember all the things you did wrong, realize how happy everyone is but you. Those are the nights you curl up into a ball so tight that you fear you might simply disappear into a black hole. When you sob so hard that you fear your shaking may wake him, despite your ability – practiced since childhood – to do so without making a sound.
“What’s the point in waking up tomorrow? Nothing will change.”
“Everyone would be better off without you. Your brokenness just ruins things for everybody else.”
“Oh, you think you’re a fighter? That’s cute. How long have you been fighting this battle, and you still haven’t won?”
Depression lies. Or so they tell us.
But depression answers back that that’s just something they say, to make us feel better. To placate us. To make us stop saying scary things that make everyone uncomfortable.
Depression won’t be silenced by an easy one-liner like that. That’s just fake news, bitch.
You can know intellectually that all these things are lies. You can read enough self-help books, listen to enough uplifting lectures, go to enough therapy sessions to understand that depression doesn’t really have a leg to stand on. But it’s just one more punch to the gut when you realize that you know all the right words, but they haven’t had any real impact on how it feels to have a monster buried deep within you, in the marrow of yourself. It’s just one more demonstration of just how broken you are, that not even all of the right tools could fix you.
But what is there to do but keep going? You’re not ready to give in… there is – somehow – still fight in you yet. Take an ambien to silence it for now, and pray that tomorrow is somehow better, despite the inevitable crying hangover to come. This, too, shall pass.
You start with just one more. One more minute. One more hour. One more day. Give it just one more chance. Give yourself just one more chance. One foot in front of the other, dear. Now just one more.