i hope you know what you’ve done. when you chose me as your victim i was young and naive, awkward and self-contained. everywhere i stepped i saw broken glass and splintered crosses so i tread fearfully. when you chose me, you chose well. i didn’t know difference yet between feeling sad and choking on an inexplicable sadness which, to this very day, still claws and crawls its way up my throat when people ask, “what’s wrong?” i didn’t know, but you taught me.
you taught me that the best way to divert attention from myself was laughter, a smile; people don’t have to inquire after my health because they can see for themselves. clearly i am ecstatic, i am on top of the world, i am joy if joy skipped meals and forgot how to sleep, how to feel, how to care. i had many bad days. and i don’t need to tell you the number of times i screamed softly under covers at my own emptiness, because you already know. you were there, not a witness but a cause.
i remember how you decided to play hide and seek with my happiness. most days you left me fumbling in the darkness, haunted by everywhere i had gone wrong and terrified of everything i could still ruin. ever relentless, you kept stealing, and stealing, and stealing, another week, another month, another year of my life. but for every painful hour i spent forgetting myself and slipping from grace, i learned.
you made your home beneath my skin and constricted my lungs and crashed static through my thoughts, but i learned to let my friends and family fill my tormented mess of a brain with stories of hope triumphant and sing lullabies to the cacophonies that echoed in my ears, and when i could believe in anyone but myself they told me i was loved, and i learned to trust them instead of the splintered emotions that ran jagged through my small and sorrowful heart.
now, i am not the same person bending over backwards to walk with your weight. i am not the empty house with dead lightbulbs and cracked plaster walls. i am not the destructive self-harmer with anhedonia. i spent too much of my life wanting to die when what i really wanted to do was live. and now, because of you, but thanks to me, i can do that.
dear depression, you taught me how to die in spite of myself, and that i couldn’t help. but in fighting you, i learned to live for myself and i chose to live. i choose to live.
thanks for nothing,