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.
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