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When You Cannot Hide From the Heaviness of Depression

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It always starts out the same.

I’m fine.

I’m fine.

I’m “fine.”

But I’m not fine.

• What is Bipolar disorder?

I open another chapter of my book to distract myself, but something in the words or the plot brings me back to the edge of crying. I open social media apps on my phone to pry into the lives of others. I log into my college coursework, with a desperate hope the drudgery of accounting will make my thoughts float to anywhere but here.

• What is Bipolar disorder?

Here. Here can be anywhere. It can be in the middle of the line for coffee. It can be driving down a country road at sunset with light streaming through the trees. It can be snuggling with my son while we watch a cartoon. Tonight, here is my bed. It started off like a vague cloud within my mind. More distractions to postpone what is about to happen. What’s about to happen is I’m about to feel so many emotions and they are rushing like a river around a bend, knocking me down. I cannot get back up.

Days like this, I seem fine. Maybe if I help a friend, this despondency won’t encompass me? Maybe if I do my coursework two weeks in advance, I won’t feel like I’m broken? Maybe if I tell all the people I love how very much they mean to me, I can push this feeling back?

However, I can’t.

I think perhaps I am not strong enough to keep darkness from turning into sheets of rain that fall on me, chilling me to my core. I think perhaps I am strong enough and I have decided to allow the inevitable to occur. My mind feels so empty. I feel a sinking numbness. I feel the weight of the bipolar disorder pressing down. I have a primal need to cry. To release a catharsis of tears and screams, to give the depression a voice. I sense a silence harbinger that will bring news of more.

More what? I can’t answer that. I sit here, in total quiet save for the clicking of my keyboard. I haven’t spoken. My throat feels dry and I don’t want to speak. My body is weary and longs for release of this albatross around my neck. How can a word carry so much weight? So much exhaustion? So much loss of hope?

Depression. In my case, bipolar depression. I struggle to grasp how a group of syllables we all agreed would be a word causes such a knot in my stomach and pain in my chest. I have stood on beaches at sunrise, watching the day begin in hues of gold, purple and pink and my mood changes from that of awe to utter sadness.

Depression is a villain that seems to find me at every corner of the Earth. So, I will wield my sword and fight the villain. I will stand in the midst of the storm. I will shine a light during the darkest of my times. And like all the evils that escaped Pandora’s box, hope remained and so shall remain with me, even when I’m here.

Unsplash image by Alony Haust

Originally published: February 5, 2020
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