I’m starting to think depression is that annoying guest who lingers far past the point of social etiquette. You know the people I’m talking about. The party ended a solid two hours ago. You turned off the music. You’ve been cleaning up. Hell, you put on your damn pajamas!
What else do you have to do!?!?
How many hints do you have to drop before this asshole gets out?!
But he doesn’t notice. Or maybe just doesn’t give a shit. He sits there, chilling on your couch with his feet lazily stretched out on your coffee table. You want to scream at him, “DUDE! LEAVE! I WANT TO GO TO BED!”
But he just sits there, taking up space.
Depression takes up space. Too much space. It invades moments, permeates memories. It pushes. It creeps in when you finally think you have some peace. It’s still just there, on the couch.
Even if you go upstairs, you still know it’s on the couch.
I’ve been upstairs for so long. I forgot it was on the couch. But I’m seeing it again. I see it sitting there, staring at me.
I remember I haven’t seen a therapist in six months. It’s been fine, I say. It’s under control. I’ve been so much better, I remind myself.
Remember how lost you were in August? How low? How self-destructive? Look how far you’ve come! You’re following your dream! You’re okay!
And I am okay.
But at night, when everyone else is asleep, I feel Depression creeping back in.
I say he’s back, but the hard truth of the matter is even when I was upstairs, he never left.
“Remember that little shop we went into during our trip to Carmel? The one with the carved wooden trinkets?” I asked my then boyfriend one night on the phone, excited to tell him about the little store I discovered that day, how much it reminded me of our anniversary trip.
There was an unusual silence. He was an oozing romantic and normally we could talk about our memories for hours. When you are 3,000 miles from someone nine months out of the year, nostalgia becomes a shared activity. We held onto the past with such a fervor, I wonder if it broke our future.
“Yeah, I remember it.” His voice was hard. I wasn’t used to this. I was usually the one with hardness. His softness sanded the edges I put in place before meeting him.
“You were pretty depressed that day,” he continued.
And he was right. I reconstructed that trip in a way that excluded the ugly parts. The ugly parts of me. The parts I’ve long hated and tried to fix. And let me tell you, walking around with the mindset that something about you should be “fixed” only breaks you harder.
“I’m sorry,” I quickly apologized and felt a strange regret scratching at the back of my throat.
He said it was fine, asked me to continue my story. I talked for a bit. I tried to fake my way through the rest of the conversation, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the trip. I replayed it, remembering how hard it was to get out of the hotel bed. He had all these adventures planned out and I wanted to stay in the room. I wanted to sleep and fuck and sleep, watch TV. Society was making my skin crawl. I felt like everyone could see through me and I didn’t like it.
I was so afraid of being seen. And Depression? Depression encouraged me to stay inside. It wasn’t fair that I brought Depression along with us, this uninvited guest on a trip that was supposed to be for just us two.
But that’s the thing about it, he’s the asshole who shows up and overstays his welcome. I don’t know how to tell him to leave. Depression isn’t good with goodbyes. And honestly, neither am I.