I am behind the bars in this prison, my hands and feet shackled. Depression is all around, filling my mind. I’m hopeless and helpless. There’s no heroic escape like in Hollywood movies. I’m all alone, clothed in drab, dark clothes. There is no color because depression doesn’t like color. Everything lacks life. Even the walls have no definite shape. They are not made out of any identifiable material. Depression is insistent, and possessive but blurry. It doesn’t have its own shape. It carves a hole in your heart, it empties your mind of all the good memories and drowns out the positive feelings. It feeds on fear and hopelessness. The more you feel those, the more depression settles in.
Depression is not quick. Depression enjoys a long slog through hopelessness and pain, as you lose interest in life and life loses interest in you.
I, the individual that I am, look through a small window at life passing me by. My friends and family are out there, laughing and enjoying life. I wish I could participate. I’d love to be there for them, even in their sorrows and their moments of hardship. But I can’t. Depression has immobilized me and rendered me lifeless. I know I’m breathing. I can feel the air going inside my body through my nose. I know my heart is beating. I can see my chest rising and slowly falling. I know I’m thinking. I’m thinking these words and aching at wasting the potential of my life, minute by minute. Depression is not quick. Depression enjoys a long slog through hopelessness and pain, as you lose interest in life and life loses interest in you.
I am a spectator to everything happening out there. Parties, fun games, relationships starting and blooming, babies being born, sports championships won after fierce battles, fashion trends cannibalizing fashion trends, season welcoming seasons, new planets being discovered. Nothing is happening in here.
Depression is a demanding and controlling prison master who doesn’t like anything except sucking life out of everything. It’s cliché and boring. So boring.
But when you’re your own master, when you’re free, you can use boredom to find something to do, to entertain yourself, to create things. Depression doesn’t like that. It likes stillness, inactivity, apathy. It makes you unresponsive because then you’re meek, helpless. It doesn’t want you to go to the movies, to celebrate someone’s birthday party, to dance, make new friends, get a promotion, what have you. God forbid you might feel joyful, energized, ambitious, healthy, optimistic, loved. Or strong.
You’d rather be by yourself, in your room, away from all the happiness and joy, right?
It wants you weak so it makes you feel like you need to isolate yourself. You feel ashamed of ruining a party with your mood even when you’re not ruining anything. You don’t want to meet with your friends because it’s so hard and you’re tired, even when they insist on seeing you. Because you’re such a downer and you’d ruin their mood too. You’d rather be by yourself, in your room, away from all the happiness and joy, right? Sure, because that’s what depression wants you to think. It makes you play its game. It knows that the more you distance yourself from everything that makes you strong, the easier a victim you’ll be. The more boring and empty your life becomes, the more it can take over and chip away at your strength and individuality.
As it gets weaker, the walls of this prison will become less and less substantial.
You’ll be able to see outside.
Why play its game? Take the fight to it. You’re still yourself. It just tries to make you think you’re weak and desperate so you get trapped more easily.
Go out and meet with your friends. Make depression feel like the fifth wheel. Go to the party. Make it feel the odd one out. Pick a hobby you might end up enjoying even if right now you may not feel like it.
Every moment of joy, excitement, curiosity and action will give you a bit of yourself back and make you stronger, while making depression weaker. As it gets weaker, the walls of this prison will become less and less substantial. You’ll be able to see outside.
And one day, after your eyes clear completely, you’ll be able to see not that you’ve stepped out of the prison, but that you WERE already outside. Depression was distorting your view and making you give up on the very things that made you strong so it could keep you in there. You committed no crime so why do the time? Start planning your escape.
Photo: Volkan Olmez