I am the face of mental illness. I am what depression looks like. I am struggle and fight and lies. I am hidden and I am shame and I do not want you to be uncomfortable so I remain this way. I wear so many masks for you that I forget who I really am. I lull myself into a false sense of security until I too start to believe in the lie. I want you to be happy. I do not want to upset your balance. I want your truth to be unbroken, but the prison of your expectations is killing me.
It is not your fault. You do not ask me to be anything other than what you expect me to be. It is tacit, your part in my play. You go about your business and you live your life the best way you know how and for that I commend you. You are kind. You are generous and very, very busy. You are courageous. You are seeing things and connecting dots. Your brain is clicking and whirring and formulating ideas and you have plans and a future and you are very, very busy and it is not your fault.
My brain also whirs and clicks and it screams and burns and is filled with snakes. There is something very beautiful about the way my neurons fire. Something very beautiful about looking in a mirror and seeing a shadow. My brain does not often tell me the truth. It is sneaky and false and very, very busy. I try not to blame my brain for its lack of compassion or its endless need to be running, running, running… but it is not easy.
I have a vague understanding of chemicals and causality. I have accumulated the language of this condition and learned words like Serotonin and Sertraline. I know what an SSRI is. I know that the big orange pill should be taken with food and that I may have trouble achieving orgasm and that I should try to stay out of the sun. I know, but I do not understand…
I do not understand why it is a struggle to get out of bed in the morning. I do not understand the constant battle that wages between the things I say to myself and the reality of who I am. I cannot be the monster that is presented to me. I cannot be useless and lazy and unlovable. I cannot be surface and reflection. I am not the illusion I present to you, but i must be some part of it. I do love. I am loved. I trust and am trusted. I have people who care about me.
This is what depression does. It grinds you down. It swallows you whole and blocks out the light. It crushes those silly things, like faith and trust and hope. It breeds cynicism and fosters hate. It drowns your dreams in a river of self doubt and delusion.
This flicker of light that bounces at the corner of my eye that I assume to be an Angel. The way my fingers move around the keyboard and find the words.