Letter to My Darkness


Photo by Brad Neathery on Unsplash

Hello darkness my old friend, (I couldn’t resist)

I’m not sure how to start this, but I told myself that as soon as I started writing, I wouldn’t hold back. With each letter I type, I’m more aware of thoughts I’ve withheld, feelings I’ve suppressed and words left unspoken. Beginning today, that changes.

You are the darkness that has yet to brighten. You are the weight that has yet to lighten. You are my depression. It has taken years to name you for what you are, but I’ve always known how you make me feel. When you’re around, my motivation is crippled and my hope eclipsed. Smile lines turn to furrowed brows, as you silence my laughter and kidnap my joy.

Why won’t you let me be happy? For decades I’ve worked to get past you. I read somewhere that depression is a house guest who will leave once its work is done. If that is true, why won’t you leave? I’ve changed my routines, sought out new friends and even switched jobs, all in the hopes of somehow escaping your influence, but still you find me.

Honestly, I’m not even mad that you show up. What pisses me off is that you never knock or ask if I’m free. You don’t let me know you’re coming. You arrive unannounced, let yourself in and act as though you’ve never left.

Don’t you see what you are doing to me? The effect you have isn’t fair. I can’t think clearly. My thoughts are scattered and it is impossible to focus on anything. Fulfillment doesn’t last and my relationships suffer because I can’t be fully present. You take so much from me that some days I have nothing left in the tank for the people I love. You are the definition of draining.

I’ve tried to escape you. I’ve tried to replenish what you take, but no vacation, retreat or adventure can undo your effects. The moment I settle back into my routines, you arrive and siphon the lifeforce I thought I had built up. How fucking inconsiderate can you be?

Like black tar that suffocates and constricts everything it covers, you seep into my depths. Your darkness penetrates so deeply that mundane tasks like getting out of bed or making food leave me feeling overwhelmed and paralyzed. Every day isn’t that bad, but I never know when you’ll give me a reprieve. There is no warning system that tells me how much you’ll affect me on any given day. All I can do is wake up, and gauge how heavy my chest feels and how tight the knot in my stomach becomes when I think about getting out of bed.

For each of these reasons, I hate you. I. HATE. YOU. I hate the way you make me feel. I hate the things I do when you’re around. I hate that you come and go as you please with no regard for my schedule. 

You know what I hate the most? I hate that I don’t know what you want. You don’t say anything. I beg, but you refuse to speak. I ask you to release me, but you ignore my pleas. I ask you to explain yourself, but your silence leaves me with nothing but questions.

What the hell is happening? Am I going to be okay? Is it my fault that I feel like this? When will I get better?

Why are you still here? Look, I know there are moments when you have a purpose. When my dad died, you came as part of the grieving process. I knew your work was an important part in dealing with my dad’s death, so it was easier to sit with you; to see you as a guest and to let you be. But there are so many other mundane moments when you show up and I don’t understand why.

I want to believe that one day I’ll get out of bed and you won’t be waiting for me. One day you won’t be the third wheel in my relationships. One day you’ll release me to live my life. One day…

I don’t expect you to respond. This is for me. I needed to say these things. I needed to speak these truths. Maybe you’re as much a prisoner as I am. Bound to me until I grasp the truths you’re pointing to. If that is the case, know that I’m still seeking understanding and doing everything I can in order to outgrow you.

I don’t yet see the light, but the people who love me assure me it is there, and I trust them. You will still be here when I’m done writing. You will still be here when I wake up tomorrow. You may still be here a year from now, but I know that one day you will find somewhere else to stay. In the meantime, I’ll keep doing my part if you promise to leave when your work is done. 

Sincerely,

Your disgruntled roommate.

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3 thoughts on “Letter to My Darkness

  1. Yes depression is the pits.! I have struggled with it for over 30 years. As a Christian in my early years I did not want to admit it because of the answers I got from church people”just pray about it and it will go “. Depression can be from a chemical imbalance in your body and there is medication that will help. When I looked at depression as a health issue and got help with counseling and medicine my long depressed times were less and when they started to come back I had tools to use to work through them. I was told the root of depression is anger and fear, when I faced my anger and fear the depression was less. I thank the Lord for His Love even when I was in the pits. I am greatfull to my spouse and friends that walked me. I am here for you if you need someone to listen. Sherry

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  2. yeah. *sigh*. I’ve definitely been trapped there, my dude. I’m pretty sure I’ve told you about that signpost I have in the depths of my subconscious, warning me to turn back (it didn’t help me find my way out of the darkness in the first place, and I know it’s not a perfect prevention measure).

    I have faith that you know how to navigate your own mental landscape. My friend, you are a capable and sturdy adventurer of these realms! This part of your journey is fraught with swampy, shitty, and treacherous terrain, but I know you will doggedly persist. You always have.

    As for myself, I know that my black dog always stalks me. Sometimes he slinks behind me, out of sight. At other times, he plainly and menacingly nips at my heels as I endeavor to stay on The Path. I understand that he’ll always be there. I think, maybe, I keep him at bay by looking into his eyes with a mixture of acceptance and defiance. Like most predators you may find on the path, he shies from open eyes and a courageous heart.

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