The first time I saw a naming ceremony in person was in Tallahassee. A young couple presented their first born son to a community of elders, peers, and children and charged us to be his collective guiding force, protector, and reminder…
My Name is Talitha and I suffer from depression.
I have felt worthless and invisible. I have wallowed in barrels of self-pity and almost drowned in self-doubt and hatred. I have considered suicide because I couldn’t stand the sight of anything vibrant. The colors were too bright. I feared they’d shine light on the mask I wore to hide my shame, guilt, anguish, and despair. I have lost battles and loved ones unjustly and too soon. I have pretended, more than on stage, that all was well when it most certainly was not, and no one was the wiser. I could even convince myself at times.
Depression is more than feeling a little sad, and it is not always because of any one thing or anything at all. It is a seemingly unbearable, asphyxiating, crude weight that bears down on every muscle and tendon like boulders on feathers. The span of your mind and every ounce of your spirit is consumed and overcome by it. It is ruthless and pitiless and harbors no remorse. You don’t just feel bad. You feel everything and the emotional confusion rattles you and sends you spiraling further into its clasp. And, it is one of the very few things that does not discriminate. It cares not about your affluence or social status, influence or celebrity. You cannot barter with it. There is no route to “get over it.” There is no “Happy” song that chases the clouds away. You have to bear it and find some inhuman strength to lift it and destroy it without breaking yourself in the process.
But first, you have to get up in the morning and put on clothes and costumes and find the desire to do all of the undesirable things like bathe, and eat less or more; like respond to mundane inquisitions or strive to still meet expectations; like be there to care for your dependents, even though you already believe you’ve failed them all. You have to also find the desire to even want to lift the cloak of depression because in your deepest pits of destitution, it becomes a companion. Oh, the subterfuge of this monster will make you believe there is no other option in life, and therefore the thought of death becomes one. It makes you feel heavy and lifeless as it is. Death almost appears to be a release, for too many, they seek it as a refuge.
I have found no cure for depression save honest introspection and intentional steps towards self-preservation. I personally have found journaling, walking, escaping for hours or days away from the routine of life, reading something captivating, and singing or crying really loudly for as long as it takes to break very helpful. Depression won’t just go away if ignored. You have to personify it and address it boldly and directly, which is quite the feat in a state of cowardice and weakness.
There are also enough life partners, as I call anyone willing to invest time and love in you, along your course that can offer guidance, assistance, a listening ear, or just a healthy distraction until you muster up the will to fight. Some are professionally trained while others are just divinely gifted. Use these people because you truly are one of these people for many of them as well.
I can’t say that I don’t have moments of abjection. I do. We all do. I’m just a little more equipped to spar than I used to be and a lot more honest about it. Still, when you see me smiling, question it and I promise to answer sincerely, and I’d be grateful if you did the same.