Submitted by K.
The weariness of a thousand years weighs on my shoulders.
My brow heavy, my ears ringing, my head compressed between closing walls. My skin feels thin, my limbs are its anchors, heavy, and heavier with each breath, my bones rattling. I’m a walking bag of rattling bones, weakening with each step.
I feel a thousand years old, barren of wisdom and encumbered with the lassitude of the world, yet I’m only 25 years old.
This is how depression feels and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
When the green becomes brown, the birds cease their songs, and the wind becomes ice, comes the storm of depression; colder and bitterer than anything winter brings.
But it’s not just the season; winter just intensifies my depression.
Depression and I go way back. Like way back. We are Siamese twins conjoined at the hip; we can’t remember the days prefacing our union. Perhaps we were never separate.
Like a shadow, depression followed me since high school – at first a minor annoyance, just a phase, a teen angst thing. Then it crept closer each year, broke the third dimension and rose like black smoke, crawling up, up my veins, and finally, resting on my shoulders and breathing over my head; a miasma of everything toxic, ugly, and wretched looming over my head, becoming the very air I breathe, becoming the thoughts I think.
I am worthless.
No one likes me.
I am a burden.
I don’t deserve to live.
Life is endless misery.
I want to die.
At first the depression-imbued thoughts were sporadic; an unwanted stranger occasionally knocking on my door. Irrevocably, silently, and unforeseeably, they became a rhythmic mantra. They became a part of everyday life and echoed throughout every conscious moment, from walking to school, sitting on the toilet, and before falling asleep.
So when I turned 21, I tried to die.
“Death must be so beautiful,” I thought, echoing my favorite author, Sylvia Plath: “To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving above one’s head, and listen to silence. To have no yesterday, and no tomorrow.”
“To forget time, to forgive life, to be at peace.”
A handful of Tylenol PM and a couple of incoherent good-bye texts later, I was on my way to eternal peace.
But my suicide didn’t unfold like the poignant scenarios of self-destruction that I’ve imagined over the years.
The girl with the black sheet of hair poetically bleeding to death in the echoing chamber of her bathroom, the bath water a pink flower blooming from her arms. The girl with the black sheet of hair resting elegantly in the coffin of her bed, sleeping forever.
No, that was not how it happened at all.
I swallowed a handful of pills in one of the dirty bathrooms of my college campus, staring at my reflection, in awe of the stupid thing I’ve done with a growing panic overtaking the previously dramatic conviction to “off” myself.
Like a guilty adulterer trudging to the confession booth to unload her sins, I bee-lined to the campus mental health center, confessed my acetaminophen and diphenhydramine binge, and was shipped straight to the emergency room.
Most people who survive the fateful plunge from the famous Golden Gate Bridge instantly regret their decision upon takeoff.
Some people who survive a suicide attempt don’t attempt it again.
But the reinforced fear of death (or perhaps the resignation to live) doesn’t do away the depression and other factors that led to suicide.
So here I am again, the winter intensifying the struggles that illuminate death as the better solution.
I’m tired of this battle. This cycle repeats again and again. It has only been a decade and I’m very tired of this journey. It feels like a thousand weary years.
This journey of self discovery and empowerment – to overcome mental illness – is an endless road that doesn’t end within my lifetime. It’s a hopeless endeavor. It’s too much work and I may never reach the end.
But I am holding on. Trudging on with heavy steps, because dying is terrifying and my life isn’t mine to take.
I may escape suffering, but by doing so, I will be unloading it threefold upon those who grieve in my absence.
They do not deserve my suffering.
So I trudge on.
But I’m so very, very tired.
I’m moving forward, slowly, with the hope that warmer days will bring my depression to normalcy – you know, my normal intensity of depression that is actually manageable.
Hope is my little ember keeping me warm in the dark snowstorm raging around me.
I’m hoping for better days.