the eeyore to my piglet

This is a story of depression.
Not mine, but rather my friend’s.
So perhaps it would be more accurate to say
that this is a story of shared suffering.

Debilitating, insidious, and relentlessly cruel,
depression is a high-stakes battle for one’s own sanity.
When my friend tells me
that he may not be around next semester,
I fear that he is losing the fight.

Abandoning all euphemisms,
I tell him to tell me
if the thoughts become too bad.
He says that he cannot promise anything.
I understand,
but repeat anyway,
“Please call me.”

People say that therapy is the answer,
and medication a miracle-worker.
He uses both. Mental illness
could not care less what people say.

Too often, ‘helpless,’ ‘broken,’ and ‘weak’
stand as universally accepted synonyms for ‘depressed.’
But my friend is a force to be reckoned with –
and in the worst throes of my anxiety,
he is my steadfast anchor,
proving that depression is not mutually exclusive
to grace, empathy,
or a wicked sense of humor.

Uncontrollably jittery and frequently distressed,
I am the Piglet to his Eeyore,
our friendship the makings of a
beloved storybook. He listens to me cry,
then tells me that I am beautiful, smart, and kind.
I remind him of these exact qualities
in himself. Sometimes, he protests –
but more often than not, he smiles.
I smile too.
When we are together,
our invisible burdens do not feel
so heavy anymore.

Middlebury College, ’18