white clouds and blue sky

The One Where I Wanted to Disappear

Trigger warning: depression and suicidal ideation

The sadness crept up slowly.

It started as a tingle in my toes. It made my legs restless at all times. I was moving and shaking, constantly dancing between the world where I was smiling and happy and the world where I wanted to sleep, like the beauty in the glass cage, except there would be no prince to save me now.

It crept up, slow and steady. My legs felt heavy. I was dragging around an anchor, a tether to the world that I no longer wanted to be a part of. Every step was a marathon, weighing me down.

It crept up into my stomach. It pulsed like a live thing, the sadness creating an anxiety. Constantly uneasy. Feeling watched and followed. Wanting sleep, craving a hollow emptiness. I wanted to feel everything and nothing at all.

It crept up, my arms constantly feeling as if I was carrying the weight of the world. “Higher,” the world said. “I want to be higher,” I’d respond, but my arms were shaking, they were giving out, I wanted to drop the world on my head in the hopes that the pain would stop. In the hopes that maybe if I could just get rid of this fucking heaviness, then I could have a good day.

And then the world ended.

That slow creep barreled through my body at the speed of a jet at take off, except no planes were taking off anymore and I couldn’t get out of bed.

Finally, my head was bogged down by so many thoughts, so many worries, so much sadness. I hurt and hurt and hurt until I shut off all emotions. I couldn’t have something, so I wanted nothing.

Every morning felt like a lifetime. Sleeping until 9 a.m. turned into 10 a.m., which turned into noon, which turned into 3 p.m., which turned into what’s the point. I faked every emotion in order to fool myself, to stop the creep, to stop the emptiness, but every day the bad thing loomed, telling me to just end it all.

It would be so easy.

I began thinking of what was beyond. I thought about it all day long. Every hour I would think of heaven and hell. I would think of purgatory. I would think of reincarnation. I would think of how good it would feel to feel nothing at all.

Finally, I knew it was time.

The sunny days turned into cooler and cooler days, and when the foliage was gone and I could see my breath and it was dark by 4 p.m., I knew it was time to go. I would drive across bridges and think of flying. I hoarded my pills, dreaming of the bitter saccharine taste of them on my tongue. I craved it.

But the tiny light inside of me refused to go out.

It was a burden, this light.

This light was my family. This light was the look on my dad’s face after my mom died, reminding me that this family had been broken once before. This light was my brother, with his depression, and the thought of never seeing him grow up. This light was my husband, who has already lost and who now gets to feel love. This light was my cats and their dependence on me in every way. This light was my friends and their laughter. This light was the existence of me. It was all the books I haven’t gotten to read and all of the food I haven’t gotten to eat and it was the small hope that maybe, this world had something more for me.

So, I am here. I show up for myself and for that little light. I show up in the hopes that the light will grow.

The creep has slowed. Things are scarier in the dark, but I know that soon the flowers will bloom and the sun will come out again. I will experience the humid air and the rain and smell the sand, and goddamn, I want to feel the hot sand on my back again.

This is the one where I wanted to disappear, but it’s also the one where I came back to life.

I want poetry to change lives, in the same way poetry saved mine.

Keep up with Ali on Instagram