When the Darkness of Depression Knocks

I used to be the happy little girl everyone loved to be around. I always had a smile on my face no matter what was going on because there was always something that was good. Even in awful situations I would find the bright side. My teachers used to say I was the light bulb for the room even in the middle of the power outages that came with stormy afternoons in Florida.

Then one day that all changed. My happiness was forced, and though I would still point out the good in every situation to maintain that image for outsiders, on the inside, the light was fading.

Darkness is the absence of light. It isn’t actually a thing on its own, just a word we use to describe an absence of a good thing. Darkness carries a bad connotation everyone recognizes, but to me Darkness isn’t just the absence of light. Darkness is a giant monster creeping up on me like the dementors from Harry Potter.

I can’t outrun a dementor, and I can’t outrun this Darkness. I don’t have a spell that will make it magically disappear to some other far away place. Darkness sucks the
light, and the life, from me. It takes my personality, my optimism, my light. I can feel it in the cloudiness that becomes my brain, the lack of motivation to do anything just disappearing.

When Darkness attacks we have no control over our emotions and our brain. We feel like we’re not good enough; we doubt whether our friends truly like us; we’re scared about the future, but at the same time we wonder what the point is to have a future. Wouldn’t it just be easier to give in and let the Darkness suck the life from us? Wouldn’t it be easier if we ended our life for the dementor, surrendering to its pessimism, worthlessness, and overall negativity?

At 5 feet and 3 measly inches, I am already small and spend my days looking up at everyone. I don’t need the Darkness to make me feel smaller. I don’t need the Darkness to pound me into the ground, to stomp on me. I’m already cold all the time, even though I live in the constant Florida heat. I don’t need the Darkness to crowd out the warmness of my heart. I don’t need the Darkness to make me hate my own skin so I have to wear a jacket in 90-degree weather to feel the slightest bit of safety, the slightest bit warmer.

Even on the days when I wake up feeling that I could possibly have a good day, the Darkness creeps up on me in dementor fashion, telling me how worthless I am. I can never escape. It is a shadow that floats behind me during waking hours. It is a nightmare awaiting my exhausted body to finally drift to sleep late into the night. It is the faintness that accompanies strange eating habits because I have to force myself to eat. It is the dizziness that engulfs my head when I can’t stop my brain from moving a mile a second.

Why does anything matter? Waking up in the morning and going to class, eating breakfast because that is what is expected; why does that matter? Why does any of it matter if you are worthless?

It matters because you are worthy. You are valuable. You are precious, important, loved, cherished. Someone out there cares about you. There is someone out there who couldn’t imagine life without you. There is something waiting for you to find it, waiting for you to discover how to use the talents you have. There is understanding. There is comfort. You are not alone.

In the Darkness, turn on a light. Turn on music, blast it. Call your friends, your parents, a sibling, aunts, uncles, grandparents. Call someone. Hear their voice. Know you are not alone. Turn on all the lights wherever you may be. If there is light, darkness doesn’t exist.

Light prevents darkness. Darkness becomes darkness; belittle that darkness. It does not own you. Turn on music, be in touch with reality. Feel the beat. Make a plan for your future. Know that you have something to look forward to.

Most importantly, do not bottle the Darkness because if you do, the bottle will shatter and the Darkness will engulf your entire being. Once it has sucked the life from you, it will move to the next person. Don’t let the dementor win. Your spell
becomes a lightbulb, a song, a voice. Find your spell and you will always find the light.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.
If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255

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Thinkstock photo by MASAO OTA/amanaimagesRF

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