Usually on Favorite Quote Friday, I share a number of quotes from one of my favorite novels. Today, I’m just sharing one quote. And a little about myself.
For years I have suffered from depression. It’s not something that I like to talk about because it makes me feel kind of vulnerable. With the help of some great friends (and medication!), I’m in a great place right now. But every once in a while I still feel that curtain of sadness take me over.
This quote is a long one. It’s from Alyson Santos’ Night Shifts Black (loved it; read my review here). And I’ve never read such an accurate description of what it feels like to be depressed.
“It’s a curtain,” I say quietly. He doesn’t respond, but I know he’s listening. I turn and glance at him briefly so he knows it, and has to accept the fact that I’m not leaving until I’ve finished my speech. “Depression, that is,” I continue. “People who’ve never experienced it think it’s a mask, but it’s not. It’s a curtain. And when it falls, it shuts you off from your life, plunging you into complete darkness. There you stand, arms flailing around you, reaching for anything to find your way back. But after exhausting yourself, grasping at only more darkness, you give up and drop to the floor in resignation.
“And so you sit. You and the blackness. You and the accusations. You and the self-hatred, the lies that become truth, the failure and pain and hopelessness and black thoughts that twist through you, impaling you to the floor. There you bleed, alone in your black hole, convinced the audience on the other side of the curtain has given up and gone home. The show is over.
“Before you know it, you realize the curtain has turned into a cement wall, and you couldn’t escape the darkness even if you wanted to, but by now you don’t care anymore. What’s the point? There’s nothing waiting for you on the other side, and even if there was, you’re such a useless waste of space that you wouldn’t dare to contaminate the world outside with your cancer anyway.”
“You feel like crying all the time but you rarely do. Depression isn’t sadness; it’s numbness. You don’t have the energy for sadness. You can’t sleep. You don’t eat. You have no desire for the things you used to love, but it doesn’t matter because you can’t love anyway. You feel nothing, just a dull, heavy ache that makes it hard to breathe sometimes, let alone get up to start the search again. You fantasize about disappearing, just erasing your pointless existence and sparing the Earth from your toxic presence. By now you’re so exhausted just from the effort of living that there’s nothing left to live it.”
Depression is tough. You want to go out; you want to connect with friends. But that damn curtain becomes a wall and it’s too heavy to cross….. so you sleep; you eat; you become one with your couch and lie in darkness…. until you’re ready to find the light.
For those who helped me find the light and drop my curtain, thank you. I love you more than words can say.