A Letter to Those I Love
It’s back. The enemy I’ve tried so hard to defeat. The battle I’ve been fighting since I was thirteen. Depression.
It’s not always an uphill battle. Sometimes I’m in a valley. The land is flat and easy to navigate. The grass is soft beneath my feet. And sometimes I’m in the sky, floating on cotton balls in the baby blue. It’s not always bad. Most of the time, I’m happy. I guess compared to how things used to be, there isn’t much to be unhappy about. At least when I’m removed from the noise.
But sometimes the clouds sink and the valleys end. Storms begin, and I’m climbing mountains. These are the times I’m left in thickets and thorn bushes, bruised and broken, scraped and scarred. I feel alone in these moments. My mind is noisy but my heart is empty. People reach out, but I push them away. I promise you, it’s not because of you. Ironically, the lonelier I feel, the more I isolate myself. It doesn’t make sense, I know. But this sadness leaves me drained. It leaves me exhausted. Sometimes I can’t leave my bed all day. Sometimes I can, but all I can manage is a shower. And sometimes I manage to get outside, but after a short 30 minutes, it feels like I haven’t slept for days.
I’m sorry I haven’t been in touch. I’m afraid that if I reach out, you’ll want to see me. I really do want to see you, but I can’t. I’m too tired. I’m too sad. But please, reach out. Say hi. I’ll try to do the same. But if I’m distant or unresponsive, I’m sorry. It’s not me. It’s the monster that’s consumed me.
It’s hard for me when I get to this point. At first, I’m in denial. I think, "I can’t be sinking again. I’ve worked so hard to be happy. I know how to be happy. My mind knows how to work properly. I’ll be okay." But I’m not.
No matter how much I try, no matter how long it’s been, the gears get stuck and don’t work properly. The first symptom is usually the exhaustion. I wonder why I’m so tired. "I don’t do much, so why do I feel burned out?" And then it’s the lack of desire and motivation, to see anyone or do anything. And then I realize it. It’s back.
Then the anger starts. The thoughts rumble. My mind is a mess, and I feel so misunderstood and frustrated. I’m annoyed and angry at everyone and everything for no reason. I cry a lot and break down quite often. I can’t control it, even when I try.
I forget how to take care of myself in times like these. I forget to eat sometimes. Or sometimes I binge. It varies each time I sink again. This time, food seems unappetizing. I feel nauseous a lot. Nothing I eat sits well with me. I get stomach aches and feel lethargic. I can’t focus and get restless. I can’t even get through 20 pages of a book without getting distracted, when normally I can read 300 pages straight through. Movies are easier. They take less work. But even then, I can’t focus much. I don’t write much. I just think. It’s been a while since I’ve written a journal or blog post. It makes me feel unproductive, like I’m failing. It makes me question my abilities and my future. I think a lot, but at the same time, I feel numb.
Sometimes my thoughts get bad, even scary. I don’t tell anyone because I’m scared. I’m scared that they’ll worry. I’m scared that they’ll think I’m more depressed than I actually am. But the reality of it is, I’ve dealt with this for over six years now. I can recognize my symptoms, and I work to identify the root of my issues. Then I work from there. All I ask of you is to understand. To know that I’m sorry for pushing you away, for not being the most engaged friend, for cancelling plans and acting differently. All I ask is that you understand, you support me and you love me. You can ask me if I’m okay and provide me with a safe place, and I’ll be so grateful. But a lot of this I have to fight on my own, with you all on the sidelines. Thank you for always being there for me. I love you.
Talia is a college student studying psychology at the University of Delaware. She has struggled with her mental health for years. Writing has been a helpful outlet for her. You can read her blog at https://writtenbytb.wixsite.com/myviewoftheworld. She hopes to provide a sense of comfort and support for those who struggle with similar conflicts in their lives.
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