At first I found Depression’s presence irritating. I tried to encourage him out the front door; I would ignore his presence in my house and head out for hours at a time. But no matter how long I left it, on my return, he would be there, hanging around, waiting for me. Eventually I gave in. I lay in bed and felt the weight of him behind me as he pulled me deeper under the covers. It felt good to give myself up to him, to relent to his presence. Depression saw me. He saw the broken heart, the damage and the pain and he still stayed. In the morning, as my alarm echoed through the room, he snoozed it and enveloped me and I slept. Depression and I slept a lot. We slept through the winter, the spring and the summer. Life whizzed past my bedroom window, but inside, we hankered down beneath the duvet and enjoyed the numbness of our existence. The short periods of time we spent awake together, we would talk, and he would listen to every little secret I had held on to, every embarrassing tale that I had to tell. In the darkest of moments, he would lay beside me on the kitchen floor as I gasped great sobs and he would catch the heartbroken tears that fell from my face. At other times, we would lose ourselves in movies and time would gently pass between us and it was easy.
Soon, I began dreading days when I would have to leave Depression and venture out into the real world. I would leave him slumbering soundly as I pulled my clothes on from the floor and scrapped my hair back from my face. Throughout the day, I would be distracted by my thoughts of him and wonder desperately when I could return to him and slip quietly back into our bed.
Depression became impatient at hanging around my room waiting for me, and before I knew it, he was present at every family gathering or girlie night out. My friends would glare at him over half filled glasses of Sauvignon as he made his presence felt. At first, Depression was happy just sitting beside me, a gentle hand across my back, reminding me he was there. Eventually the conversations would bore him and he would begin to whisper in my ear, drowning out my friend’s words until all I could hear was him. He would remind me of the silly things I had told him at 3am about the times I had been a terrible friend or danced drunkenly on a bar. I would feel the embarrassment of my humanity encroach on me and he would whisk me back to the safe cocoon that waited for us at home. My friends would phone and text and ask to see me alone, encouraging me to leave Depression at home. I mentioned this once to Depression and I could see his hurt as his anger spilled from within him. He placed a hand across my throat and squeezed the air from within my chest and reminded me of all the times he had been there when they had not. That night he would apologise and place his arms across my body and sooth the aching pain of heart break once again and I would forgive him in exchange for his comforting anesthesia. I became dependent on Depression in managing my pain, and without him I felt adrift.
I became attached to Depression like a dog collar, and if I tried to move from his side, I felt the grip of him around my neck as I struggled to breathe without him nearby. He began to control my every movement and I felt unable to leave his side. During one evening, after seeing a friend who had coerced us both from our cave, he spat bile in my ear and I struggled to speak as he pulled me further away from her. On the journey home, I gulped down silent tears as Depression criticized my friendship. The pain he had been suppressing for so long simmered under my ribs and for the first time in months I wanted to feel that, I wanted to pull away from him and fill my body with that pain. I looked at a nearby tree and thought about turning my wheel and allowing us to collide with it’s enormous branches, so I that could feel the crushing of my bones and the blood within my body. I did not want to feel numb anymore. I wanted to feel the pain; I wanted to feel alive again.
I drove home that night and left Depression sitting in the car and I found my Dad and I cried. I cried a lot. I felt every little piece of emotion that I had let Depression suppress and shared it with my Dad, and then I cried some more.
The following morning I went and visited my GP, and she gave me a pill. At first I shook my head, and told her I was not mental and she reassured me that the pill would just let me see clearly again. So I took it, I swallowed it and I saw. I saw what Depression had done. I saw my broken friendships, my bloated body and my empty life. I saw the times that I thought Depression had removed my pain when really he had just misplaced it.
Not long after this, Depression left my house and did not return. Occasionally he will send me postcards from distant places and remind me of what we had, and occasionally I might long for 48 hours in bed with him, for the numbness and the comfort. But then I normally call a friend and have a cup of tea with them alone, no invite open for him.