My Depression | Teen Ink

My Depression

July 13, 2019
By Anonymous

Three minutes before the volcano erupted, the main protagonist with stereotypical straight shiny brown hair raced to the rescue, always coming to the rescue, always teaming up with her “quirky” friends to catch everyone and everything before it fell and crumbled - I wish life was more like these novels I read, a world where everything is caught before it falls… life is not like that. Life is more like going into a stall and listening to those incoherent ramblings of the vaping teenagers in the corner of my middle school’s girl’s bathroom - the bathroom always, of course, dirty and isolated in its blatant lack of soap, paper towels, and dignity - the girl talking is wearing a new trendy Urban Outfitters’ crop top so she’s really feeling herself now, she is trying to be emo, trying to sound cool and put together and organized, but she just wants to be in her mother’s arms, so one with this non-alone-ness rocking in the rocking chair of her mind,  she has lulled her brain to sleep of sweet transcendence from this awful teenage world. Humanity is that girl’s mind’s innerworkings, and life is sullen teenagers vaping in a dirty girl’s bathroom. In summation, life sucks. At least, that is what I thought. 

I did not always think like that, like that dark grainy mess that is my reflections, or, at a minimum, I covered it up for everyone else. I  just dipped it all in cotton candy; just dripping in sweet, sticky nonsense of pink wholesomeness that was forced into my mouth, melting into liquid metallic hot sugar on my mouth conveyed by the friends I acquired from the caked on candy lying over what really was going on in my twisted malfunctioning brain. I was part of a closely knit, all-white, comfortable Brooklyn suburbanite descendants dominated, and gifted and talented elementary school class. We were supposed to be, or I painted it as if we were all like that, (either or one of those), have two parents (who get along), one house, expensive clothing, and wholesome hobbies (including, but not limited to, sewing, tap dancing, and baseball). 

I used to be known as a cry-baby, and as a joke, my parents would laugh about how I used to conveniently begin to cry every time math class started. It was more than that. I remember when I cried salty tears when Holocaust Rememberance Day wasn’t chosen as an acceptable holiday to celebrate and talk about in class, when Chinese New Year was. And it wasn’t because of the holiday that I would run up to the girl’s bathroom, always painted infinite shades of muddy brown, and sob thunder until my friend would come up to comfort me, or maybe it was just to console the overreacting dramatic girl, whom she knew from class, crying in the bathroom. It wasn’t because of the holiday, it was because no one in that class knew, I was surrounded by blonde, not-overly-religious-Christian-girls that seem to frequently populate the public schools of Brooklyn, who just did not get, in that clichéd incomprehensible and indescribable way, what the Holocaust even was. It frustrated me to the point that I boiled over in that pure, uncut anger of a spinning top on Hanukkah, over and over it goes, up and down the wood until it cracks as it pops off the table with a thud on the flood. I thudded, I fell off, and that is what me wailing in the bathroom was. It was my breaking point of that perfect, elusive, almost-Christian girl that I could just never be. And that was the end of me coating my perception of life in cotton candy. I was in fifth grade.

I am still not quite sure what that realization, or really more like a cultural shattering, was for - the beginning of the end or the beginning of the rest of my beginnings that I would undertake for the rest of my life. In a way, it helped me accept who I really was, and who I would never be. I couldn’t ever make myself wealthier, or not have divorced parents, or be shorter, or paler, or blonder, or skinnier, or any of those things that I was not sure I even wanted me to be anymore. I think I began to realize, in my own small-scale self-contemplating pre-adolescence way, that I will never be more than myself, so I need to accept myself as the tall, lanky, bad-dressed, dark skinned, frizzy brown haired person I am, and maybe perhaps I could see how some of these things that make me not fit into the mold I want to fit into make me also beautiful, resilient, and just who I am. On the other hand, this devastating consequence plunged me headfirst underwater, mouth open and filled with salty water, ears and eyes and soul just exposed as a wound to this dense overpowering liquid. I suddenly became so full of this depression, seeing through these glasses with black tinted dark lenses, where the whole world is listening to girls vaping in the back of a poorly stocked middle school’s bathroom. The fact is, I was so deeply aware of it, am still so acquainted with it. 

My depression is a person. She coexists with me, she sits across from me, she eats breakfast at the long creviced wooden expanse of a table, she dances in the corners of my mind when she gets bored until her feet begin to bleed dark red all over, and she walks along the Coney Island boardwalk holding my hand, side by side with my friend and I, watching patiently to see if my smile turns up a little too much just because the sun is beating down like thunderbolts and I’m still a little sugar high from the bright blue slushie that stained my tongue, braces, teeth… she embodies my shadow, in the sense that she always only appears when its brightest outside. She is the dark side of every triumphant story, she is the maid who did it in a murder mystery, lurking in the dark ready to murder with her kitchen knife being gripped shakily in her hand. Clearly, she always was there, ready to pounce, ready to emerge in her devastating entrance, just smaller, younger, and at some point, I realized that just as I grew, taller, more self-aware, older - she was growing too. She was becoming massive, and I never knew how I could control her. The more pills I threw at her, the more awareness of her presence I obtained through therapy, and having a psychologist for a mother who is well aware that when I say “I’m fine” I’m really lying through my teeth drastically, she, my depression, did not ever shrink. 

I was the closest to empty and hopeless that I believe I have ever been in my life, just reeking of despair and self-deprecation. No one should ever protest looking at themselves in the mirror because all you can see are those bumps on my face where I want perfect-unattainable-movie-star-photoshop smoothness, or my skin, which I want tanner or paler (depending on that day), or my hair, which I so desperately want to be thick-straight-shiny-ness, but persists in its multi textured, curly on the inside, straight on the outside, frizzy being. The side effect of this shadow growing larger, more powerful, was that this radical self-love I was harvesting when fitting in with an idea I thought everyone else embodied (an idea, I now think, that may have been a mirage, considering now 80% of my old gifted and talented class is now in therapy) failed miserably, was now reverting back to what it used to be because of it. Or maybe that is all just an unfortunate side effect of middle school, which is portrayed to be, and in all fairness is, most of the time, objectively soul crushing. 

In my head, my depression is a vague yet immensely clear image, fleeting yet distant, as if it was just a hallucination based on all the things that have been accomplished by my depression, just an overall collection weaved by the darknesses that cloud my mind, maybe the internal bleeding that no one else can see. She is sometimes the grim reaper, the villain painted in the tapestry of my individual story, dark and impenetrable and the source of all my misery for my own particular enjoyment of being able to pin the blame for a sometimes awful existence on something, anything. She is a devil, she has flaming red skin and bloodshot eyes that could pierce through the pulsing pink center of my guilty subconscious, she is deeply unaware of the fact that any of the darkness going through my brain could be my fault, she is the center of all the worst part of the world, and that is the pedestal, so far removed from my own seat, I have placed her jagged skeletal figure upon. Then again, she has so many faces, as don’t we all? Don’t we all walk around wearing a mask in front of our parents, which we switch when we are talking drunk on moonlight with our older sister, which we then switch again to yet another mask when we are out partying with a collection of soulless people we call our “friends,” but whom we likely won’t meet again? That’s why depression is always your best friend. You can’t put on a mask to hide from your shadow as you can put on a mask to hide from everyone else.

Her other face, the one that only I see, is the one as the person I am the most truly myself with in the whole world, even my best friend. In a way, I grow a dangerously familiar dependency on her, to ruin my day, to infiltrate my brain with her tip-tapping shoes on pointe, prancing around this spoiled playground on a rainy day, but at least that means no one else is there but her… at some point in time, when bad days creep its baleful claws unto bad years, this pain of my mine becomes a comfort. That is the time old trap for all of us, isn’t it? Letting these twisting vines of self-doubt, depression, and self-hatred wrap around us a little too tight for a little too long, until you can’t remember the times when there used to be daylight, because now there is only the soothingly spooky comfort of night left to haunt your days. Even a man trapped to laying on cold hard metal spikes that puncture his skin and leave blood snaking its way down every individual steel stake since birth, would cry deep salty tears once being rescued fifty years later, and not those fake cotton candy tears. Its human nature to love what is part of our every day, always over what is moral, right, or just. Stability is an underrated force behind humanity’s actions and behaviorisms. Movies are made and books are written and lives are lost heroically (I’ve always thought that a funny idea anyway, to have people die and that be celebrated, it is inherently very morbid), all for this vaguely unattainable idea of carpe diem, life is too short to keep doing the same thing, and that life is rewarding to those who are risk takers. And we do try to accomplish that occasionally, on the small scale. However, nothing is more appealing, in the most honest sense, than what humanity has always known all their life. What if Dorothy had stayed in Oz? Alice had stayed in Wonderland? They never do, because they always desire most of all to just go home. That is why I would rather have mint tea with milk and marshmallows in my bed just the way my mother used to make it on a warm Saturday morning than to go to the Queen’s palace in England for tea. Only greed could get the better of that fact.

It is a lot of work to get rid of her. And it is work. The pamphlets and television and the self-help books with patronizing blurbs and unrealistic author names like “Marigold Featherwood” paired with flawless author portraits in the back of the hardback undoubtedly with a bush or a waterfall in the background have lied to you. The journey is not just finding a psychologist and a family psychologist and a psychiatrist and antidepressants, that is only the very beginning, it’s not even worthy enough in a journey to be the climax. As is the case with most happy endings, it is not an end, or even close to one, it is only the beginning. My awful creative writing teacher, the one whom we all hated because she doesn’t have enough creativity in her body to produce different lessons, so our second year of her was practically like repeating a grade, well, she was talented at one thing - long philosophical rants (did you wonder where I got it from?), and she did teach me that. She taught me that your goals do not matter at all, that all the “what are your goals for this seventh grade year?” was utter nonsense. She taught me that it’s how you get there that really matters in your life, how you work to this point of whatever lies in that just-out-of-reach destination, what your journey is that matters. Therapy has been sobbing my eyes out and being gently passed tissues to clear the snot pouring out of my nose, an outpour of anger at everyone, at my psychologist for being right, and at the people I am talking about. It’s been my fight-or-flight instinct kicking in, wanting me to get as far as possible from that room, with the painting of doors that lead to nowhere that I stared at when I want to look anywhere but my psychologist’s face and so far completely useless miniature pot of plants, but I stay rooted on the Ikea couch, thinking both of everything in my life and how soon I can get out of there. I so just want to eradicate her, to get rid of her so I am not so stuck in this crippling well of darkness I will never stop falling into.

One day, I think. One day. That day so close to the future, so near, that sunset in the future of this liquid gold that is most consistent in that it is always just out of reach, that is when I will kill her, although I am not sure I will be able to. That other self of my depression, the one that is just my best friend, my comfort - it’s hard to get rid of. I think on that golden sunset day I won’t murder her, that is, to take her by the wrist and slit her wavering pale throat with a jagged, sharp knife until dark red blood pools out of her and she is nothing but a white hollow shell of a girl lying on the hardwood floor. Maybe though, I will be able to shrink her, just enough, just enough to squeeze her into my pocket, because a small part of me is very much aware that I want her to be there, just a reminder so when I do overcome her, with all the pills and therapy and my overpowering mother (and stepmother), I will always know where I have been. Maybe I will reach my small hands with my yellowed fingernails and long talons and weathered palms deep into my pocket for her, but I won’t be stuck in this swirling hurricane of night enclosing on my being, I will just remember, and be thankful I figured it out, like I finally read the instruction manual right to pitch a tent, and now I have shelter from the rain pitter-pattering down the bright red polyester sides. Maybe we don’t need to end the storm completely, because maybe it is just a part of life, of nature. Maybe we just need to know how to set up the tent so we won’t get soaked.

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This article has 3 comments.

_tommy_ said...
on Aug. 29 2019 at 9:50 pm
_tommy_, Jacksonville, Arkansas
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Favorite Quote:
People will notice the change in your attitude towards them, but won't notice their behavior that made you change.

I couldn't have said it better. You did an excellent job, coming from someone who is depressed. This is probably where the new chapter begins for your life. Ask cheridorr said, you are flipping going places! And just know, this black girl is rooting for you!

cheridorr said...
on Jul. 31 2019 at 9:27 pm
cheridorr, Barryville, New York
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A moving and extraordinary piece written by a young person who seems well beyond her years. She is going places. Greatness. Right. Here.

on Jul. 31 2019 at 6:10 pm
Sarahshoshana, Brooklyn, New York
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
Amazing, stirring, raw vulnerability. I love it!!