Major depressive disorder is a disease. A malicious cancer that eats up every nice thought in your head, and every moment which should had been enjoyable. All you can do is watch as your world slow burns, grays into ashes that will abruptly burst into vibrant flames for what feels like the second (or third or fourth or fifth) time, only more intense. One day you find yourself unable to get out of bed, strength gone from words and actions. You can’t explain it to other people because you can’t put it into words and they won’t know how to pick up the pieces anyway. They’ll say, “You’ll get better” or “stop being dramatic”. You get angry with them, but you know deep down that doing so is unfair. How could they understand that there is a sickness in your bones, a pestilence which flows like water in your lungs and you can’t breathe, carnage hiding just below your skin and at your center there is a storm so violent you are afraid it will wash you away?
Every day is a fight; a struggle to survive. There are creatures in your dreams with teeth and claws and bile in their mouths that burn away your happiness for no other reason than to watch you writhe inside yourself. Eventually you realize you don’t even dream and you’ve been awake for hundreds of years and you’re just so fucking tired. The creatures, with bits of decaying flesh stuck to their gums and their manic eyes that you see in the mirror every day tear you apart from inside, and all you can do is say “I’m okay, really I’m fine” because your friend is crying and your parents are crying and all you ever do is hurt them. Can’t do that anymore, too painful, too much pain.
So you begin smiling. Everyone thinks you’re picking up your feet. You laugh, and the sound makes you want to vomit. Your smile feels like acid on festering wounds and it’s impossible to change the bandage because if you pull at the gauze you’re afraid you’ll fall apart right there. A cycle has started; the creatures said it would. They were gnawing at the tendons on your ankles as they told you, ripping them out and savoring the taste, gorging themselves on your flesh. You can’t move your feet, all you can do is smile that stupid smile and repeat, “I’m okay” like a record player too stubborn to move on the threads. Everyone believes it, and you feel guilty about lying but you can’t bear to see them share in your sickness. They are beautiful and lovely and bright and deserve more, you are undeserving of their love. That thought process is becoming more frequent and you judge your value on the teeth and claws buried in decaying flesh on your arms, that burned so good and made your heart restart, if only for a bit.
You’ve come to love the beasts in your head, their constant whispers comforting in the overwhelming static of your thoughts. There’s a persistent roar that makes focusing almost impossible, and those around you worry as you daydream for hours on the floor, phone ringing and ringing and ringing but you can’t hear it clearly and you don’t even want to. It’s too hard now, interacting with others who aren’t ill like you. They laugh from the gut and smile and love, and the whole charade is exhausting.
You don’t know when you stopped showering and began skipping meals. Time is something that you can no longer relate to. At some point, you stopped, and if you had answered your phone at some point in the last 4 months you could tell someone when exactly it was you started becoming withdrawn. Those creatures of malice and snarls and snapping teeth have become your only friends. They comfort you and press their misshapen muzzles against the bare skin of your neck, salivating over the life force being pumped in your jugular. Their breath is cold; it smells like sulfur and plague, while their fur is hot and charred. The smell of burning flesh and fur is normal now. You stroke them, not as afraid as you were of them ages ago. They are the only things you know, the only sense you can cling to. Your friends left at some point, you only remember laying on the floor again and hearing the door shut just after some sad words and eyes and faces gazed at your destroyed form, crippled and bloody and broken in more ways than one.
Professional help seems to be brought up every day by someone with good intentions, but they can’t see how far gone you are. You live in your head, unresponsive and drowning in tar that bubbles and sears in your throat and keeps you from uttering your grievances. You couldn’t talk if you wanted to.
There’s pills. They don’t fix you.
There’s the therapist. She only looks at you over her notebook and you sit in silence, staring at the window but only seeing the creatures stalk around you, making unearthly groans and biting at the flesh on their backs. They’re getting restless, you’ve noticed. They stir frequently, take chunks of meat from your body to greedily devour in the blackest corner of your mind and you find yourself unable to remember if you’ve moved in the last week. Everything is a blur, everything is nothing and nothing is everything.
Your sickness progresses further, your body is heavy. It feels as though someone has strapped a planet to your back and told you to march onwards. Your spine can no longer bend to adjust to the weight on your shoulders and your muscles, those that the creatures have kindly left, cannot strain any further.