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When the Darkness of Depression Feels Like Home

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It appears as if from nowhere. A black mass, a cloud, a swirling mist of darkness calling out to you with its sweet siren song of comfort. You inch closer and breathe it in, careful not to let it envelope you. Slowly, you let the fog touch your skin, grazing over your body, your hair, your clothes. Rolling through you like air, your senses come alive. Nerve endings tingle, and the tips of your fingers and the end of your nose are suddenly alive and aware. You breathe deeper, inhaling the pain, the shadow, the familiarity.

You come to the edge and look over. You see little pieces of yourself there. You see parts of yourself you lost through heartbreak, missed opportunities, things that were taken from you, lies you were told, stolen moments and sins committed. You see the dignity, respect and virtue you gladly handed over to the darkness are there existing without you.

You believe for a moment if you could just go down into the darkness, then you might have those things back. Somehow you could go back in and this time it would be different. You tell yourself you can step in and out, that you can move freely. You tell yourself you can take with you the things it stole and leave behind nothing. Even as you say this, you know it is not true. You cannot exist in both worlds.

The choices you could have made, if it had never existed at all, pulse there in the blackness calling out to you. You step closer and real life fades away. For a moment, it’s as if reality does not exist at all. All that is, is this blackness, this darkness. It is comforting because you know it, because you have been there. You have lived there.

You would think such darkness would be scary, that you would want to turn and run, but when it calls to you it is like home. You are grateful it has returned, thankful that it has come back for you. It reminds you, keeps you grounded and makes you whole.

The lost moments of your life, the misery you have faced, it becomes easier to see yourself in the misery then in life. Life becomes too bright, too stimulating. You take a tentative step toward the edge and try to step into the darkness for just a moment. Just to have that brief reprieve from actual living. Just one moment where you can stop trying, stop swirling, stop forcing yourself to exist in a world that has no place for you, a world that has ceased to make sense. The darkness reminds you it has never made sense.

Life has never worked for you. You have never been a part of anything other than the darkness. As you stand there at the edge, seeing the real you swirling there, pressing up against the light, your two realities existing for once in the same space, you move slowly. You are not quite sure if you believe what the darkness is telling you. You hesitate for a moment and with a jolt you are called back, called back to this life that holds nothing for you. You are forced to step out of darkness.

You are back, blinking and exhausted. Life is too moving to quickly and it makes no sense. No one understands you and you question if they ever have. Your skin feels foreign, loose, like you are playing dress up in someone else’s body. You begin to crave the darkness, to yearn for it, to lust after it. You begin to want nothing but to be left alone so that you can go back.

People try to hold on to you, but you run. You push them aside because they do not understand. They have never been to your darkness. They cannot see the real you lives there. It makes sense there, you say, lashing out, railing against anything that tries to keep you. You rationalize and justify your wanting to go there, convincing yourself it will be but a brief visit this time.

Eventually, the struggle becomes too much for those who are holding on to you and they let go. You slip willingly through the cracks. You hurdle yourself over the edge, weightless, you let the fog cradle you like a long lost soulmate. In the darkness, there is peace. When you are fully there, there is peace, a peace you cannot and will not experience anywhere else, peace like you have never known before.

Familiar sounds and smells rush up around you. The parts of you that have been living there come out to greet you, and you gather them around you like stuffed toys. Propping them up next to you, touching their edges, running your fingers over them, feeling their softness, wondering why you ever left them there in the first place.

You see in the darkness everything you could have been but never were. You see everything you said you would do but did not. You see the broken promises, the forgotten dreams, the aspirations you let die because life was just too hard. It feels good to see them again.

There is no pain in the darkness, no regret, no longing because in the darkness nothing else exists other than the darkness. You are grateful for just a brief moment of peace.

Originally published: July 28, 2016
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