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When You Left, My Depression Stayed


Editor’s note: If you struggle with a body-focused repetitive behavior, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can find resources at The TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors.

I know of many messes: the dishes in the sink; the old Goldfish on the floor attracting small black ants that line up marching. The sheets, a swath jungle, even the pillows rebelled. I have seen many messes here and there.

The biggest mess was me staring back at me. Rims of pink around my eyes. Gray under my bottom lashes.

I was a blurry concoction of a human standing there, existing in the space given. I didn’t ask for it. I wanted to give it back like a gift but I didn’t want to seem ungrateful. The truth was that I not only was a mess but I could not figure out why I even existed as a mess. For those moments I should have been out of my misery. The death that stared back at me in the mirror should have been an invisible mist.

There, leaning against the bathroom counter, I didn’t even feel my feet on the floor. I could guess it was cold. It always seemed cold. There were flakes like sprinkles in my hair where I picked my scalp for hours. I kept holding onto this thought that I was really a princess in a tower and I would be rescued at some point. But that never happened.

I was a mess and no one wanted that. Love had already left out the door, and I knew the small click of the lock that boomed in my ears even as I laid sideways on the pillow soaking it with tears for days. I wanted to leave too. I wanted to float away like those dreams I was always having where I could float up to the tops of trees.

It hurt to close my eyes, burning the burn away. It hurt to open them, seeing visions of life around me. I was this mush mashing my weight against the bed as he walked into the room, but it was to check on his phone charging, gaining power while mine was slowly leaking out through all my pores. I’d cry silently, wishing he’d give me a white small cord, swivel it around to plug it in. I could take but I’d take slowly. I didn’t want to scare him away. But he was already gone. Again. Quickly glancing my way, but my mess was something that cost him money and time.

I didn’t want to show him how badly my mess was swallowing me, but I wanted to scream at him to see me. See me. See me and hold me. Touch me on the skin that covers my heart and love me for the beat. A word. I wanted words to tell me I’m going to get through this mess. I needed sounds coming from him, framed in lovely phrases that softened my edges. I needed to feel his weight sink into my side of the bed where I thought too many thoughts and yet couldn’t form a sentence to tell him how I felt.

Instead, he believed what he saw. I was this lump refusing to clean the kitchen. I was lazy and wouldn’t pull my weight around the house. Funny. Not really. I honestly couldn’t pull my weight around the house. Some days the weight of my legs would be too heavy to lift and shift. I couldn’t give an inch. He couldn’t see me.

If you or a loved one is affected by body-focused repetitive behaviors, you can find resources at The TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors.

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

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Thinkstock photo via KatarzynaBialasiewicz


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