Dear Depression: Here Are the Words I'm Slowly Learning How to Say

Dear depression,

We go way back. You’ve haunted me for years, hiding in the back empty corners of my mind, waiting to take hold of my heart and paint all the windows black.

Dear depression,

You are the shadows in my room on a bright and sunny day. Your weariness took my bones and taught them too young to stay in instead of go out and play.

Dear depression,

You are the cold, hard, heavy metal chains that held me to the bathroom mirror for hours, searching but finding nothing but self-hate.

Dear depression,

You are my old lover who can’t seem to stay away. But loving you got me sick, choking me on the words I never knew how to say.

Loving you got me addicted to destroying myself, to leaving gaping cracks inside my mask because I didn’t know how else to cry for help.

I used to think I was ugly.

I hated my hairy arms and my big nose

And my teeth and my acne and my disgusting, jagged bones.

I used to think my name was lonely, as everyone ignored me at my first teenagers’ party. And even when I finally found friends who really knew me I still felt alone, behind a one-way window mirror glass, because to them it all seemed normal and only I knew I was trapped.

I’ve always been afraid of the darkness, my thoughts and most of all of being alone.

Dear depression,

You are scars. You are lists and tally marks of all the times I stayed inside and hid in bed, not wanting to live, but not ready to die.

Dear depression,

You are silence when I feel ready to explode, because when I climbed a tree and he followed me to ask if I was OK all I could say was “I don’t know.”

And I don’t know, I don’t know… how to not be alone.

But I don’t want to be alone anymore

So I’m building a house with no black windows and unlocking my door. I can tell you now I’m learning how to feel loved, and that I no longer think I’m ugly. You won’t be happy to hear that I’m no longer addicted, and that I’m learning to love me. But I’m happy to let you know I’m no longer choking on all those words I’m slowly learning how to say.

Like, “I am beautiful.

And, “I am not OK.

And, “I need help conquering my depression.

And, “I am a strong, priceless woman who is learning to be open.

And I’m not sorry to tell you I’m learning to hope in God again.

And maybe it has taken me a lifetime of hurting and of growing, but I’m finally ready to say freely…

Dear depression,

You are not my friend.

You cannot have me.

You will not silence me.

If you or someone you know needs help, see our suicide prevention resources.

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

The Mighty is asking its readers the following: If you could write a letter to the disability or disease you (or a loved one) face, what would you say to it? Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

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