Finding the words to describe depression’s darkness is challenging. How does it feel as the darkness slips around you? And you feel yourself slipping away? I try to find the words, but sometimes they do not come.
I want people who have never felt the inescapable darkness of depression to understand what depression’s darkness feels like as it removes the light and the air from around you. Hence, the need to have others understand the debilitation, but mainly to not feel so alone.
That need for connection drives my desire for people to understand. And yes, it is also, so perhaps we can remove the stigma around having any mental illness can be removed.
So that someday, maybe soon, people who have never felt the crushing weight will look upon those who fight against that dark weight with compassion, not contempt.
But no matter the words I find to use, I don’t think people will ever understand. Because, like so many things, if you know, you know. And if you don’t, you won’t ever. Not unless depression’s darkness envelopes you.
And I would never wish that on my worst enemy.
As I talk with other survivors diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and C-PTSD, I realize we have our language. We don’t have to explain the words or phrases we use together. We know. How can I bring that same understanding to those on the outside?
Let me tell you, talking with people who don’t understand and then talking with my people, not only is there a difference, but the feeling of being welcome and finally being understood, is epic. I never had that feeling before.
I walked this world for a long time feeling so alone and isolated until I found my people, my fellow survivors. I am glad I did because it makes times when the darkness comes and whispers, “You are alone,” a bit easier.
Because I know the darkness lies. I am not alone.
I wrote this poem while struggling to keep my head above the darkness. I was losing, and I knew I was losing. It was the moment when I knew I had to go back to medication. And I did start medications again. And the darkness receded.
But the memories of it are still there, just over the horizon.
I think they always will be. Once darkness has touched you, you are never really free.
I am defiant as I watch.
This darkness, comes in waves,
covering the shoreline,
pulling at the glittering shells, the sparkling sand,
all the beauty becomes hidden
by the darkening wave.
Each encroachment devours more,
taking as it leaves,
not only encroaching, eroding that which
ties the shore to the rest of everything.
Slowly, inch by inch, it roils and rolls upon that which
once held such promise. And now,
in this desperate time, holds only
fear and survival.
Standing as an affront
to the darkness and that which cannot be known,
out beyond, where solid ground
For that is where madness lies,
the far-out place
where no one ventures willingly.
ever threatening as I stand, in defiance,
or so people say, or see what they will from me.
But no matter what is said or seen,
I am the lone survivor standing at the precipice.
Alone at the end.
The darkness eventually laps at my feet,
first, a tickle, then the void extends,
encompassing my feet, then my calves,
muscles tightening in protest, the chill settles deeper.
Now immobile, I can do nothing but stare out
to the far distant darkness.
I will not go without a fight.
But the darkness surrounds me,
higher and higher, still.
Soon I will be engulfed, and still,
present, watching the darkness’s eventual destruction
I am defiant no more.