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You don’t notice it until it happens. You check your phone and notice your messages are all really old, that you haven’t sent or received anything from your usual contacts in a while. You say to yourself, yeah, I’ll think of something and send some notes out to people later today. The quirky thought or joke never materializes and it’s almost quitting time and you’re exhausted. Oh well, another day won’t hurt, you think, as you head home, distracting yourself with all the the other things that have to get done.

Days turn to weeks, weeks to months, and the lightness that used to guide you through your day dims. Silence from the other side makes you feel sad, hopeless, even resentful. Why do I always have to be the one to text first, you mutter. They know where to find me, you grumble. Maybe I did something to upset them, you wonder. I don’t even know what I’d say now, you realize. The distance between you and your touchstones grew so far that now you’re drifting in an ocean of isolation and you’re not even sure anyone really notices.

This is what depression is. The quiet voice that says, “tomorrow” and lets you slip out into the darkness further. It wants you alone. It wants you to hear nothing but itself. It wants you to feel helpless. It wants you to feel weak. It wants to be in control.

Depression is smiling in the face of people who ask how you are, and lying as you say, “fine, and you?” It tells you that people don’t really want the true answer, that they’re only being polite and they don’t really care. It tells you that if you tell them the truth, it will make them uncomfortable, or worse, reject you. Depression is complacency, because everyone expects you to tow the line and maintain the status quo.

So, what’s the truth? Do people care? Maybe, I don’t know. All I know is that right now, I’m in it. And it feels awful.