I woke up with a feeling of dread. I felt overwhelmed by the darkness around me. I felt unsafe. Every wound was opening up again. The scars became bleeding living tissue.
When I was in my early 20s and depression was at its peak, crushing my fragile body with sledge hammers, I used to sit every night by the window and watch the lights and shadows moving in the apartments across the park. I wasn’t spying, though it felt like it, I was just imagining myself leading other lives. It was a the only way I could escape from myself. A refuge, when I had none.
I used to make up stories in my mind about them. I compared their life-style and energy with my lack of will to be alive. I gave them names, I judged them based on their TV program choices. I liked more those who had cats.
My favorite nights were when the whole neighborhood went through power failures, and they happened almost every week and lasted for at least 30 minutes. I loved seeing people lighting candles or walk to one another using flashlights or their phones. You could see they were worrying about one another, such as the mother checking on her daughter immediately after all went dark. I loved seeing those tiny lights moving around as if they left their bodies behind and they were communicating through their souls.
I wanted to be them. I wanted someone, anyone, beside me. I was cold and soulless. I was so empty and translucent, I didn’t even have a shadow.
I used to stay by the window for hours, every night. I was afraid even to take a look inside my room. I was afraid of the loneliness in it. I was terrified of the thoughts and darkness in my head. I was in such a bad place it still brings me nightmares. I’m not over it and I remember everything. I remember how lifeless I was, how slowly and purposeless I moved. My spirit was decomposing.
I can’t believe I survived it. I still don’t know what kept me alive. Either I was so dead inside that I didn’t even have the energy to end it or because I felt I had to wait a little longer. And I’m glad I did. Even though, from time to time, I tend to go back, I know it’s just the trauma I’m left with. Even though I’m still thinking about how everything is kind of pointless, I know it’s upon us to find a meaning and to stir ourselves in the direction of our dreams.
I don’t know who I am today, if surviving that toughened my skin or changed my perceptions, because sometimes I tend to go back. I can taste depression in other people’s words and movement. It’s easy to spot them, but difficult to help them. I know that no amount of encouraging words are enough to get you out of the pit if you don’t want to be rescued or if you don’t believe there’s a way out.
One thing’s sure: I don’t regret choosing to hold on.