The Phoenix - The Truth About Depression
Stop asking why.
That's always been a huge trigger of mine—I'm depressed. I don't know why. If I knew why I was depressed or if there was a way of fixing it, don't you think that I would have gone about and done whatever it was to fix it? Don't tell me that I don't seem depressed just because at that moment I'm not breaking down in tears—actually, the tears are more related to my anxiety than to my depression.
The depression is when I'm not crying. The depression is when I'm sitting there with the blank look on my face and saying that everything is fine. Or I'm laughing and smiling with everyone else pretending that everything is great and that I'm happy and excited about everything. That's something that I've learned with depression—acting skills. If I were a few shades prettier and a lot of shades thinner I could be stealing roles from all of these A-listers in Hollywood.
It's taken years of practice. Self-taught. I consider it a skill. People look at me and they'll see what I want them to. It's rare that I let someone see anything past the role that I've decided to play that day. I make jokes about my own depression sometimes. It's also a dangerous thing—it attracts me to other people that I see the same kind of darkness in.
I don't know if people with depression can hide it from one another. We can try to but it's always the eyes that give it away. Some of us, though, like me, and others, have learned not even to let them see it in our eyes. We can fake everything from the eyes down to the smile and it just seems perfect. We can light up a room with our "energy."
I've been told that so many times. My energy and smile can light up a room—that I'm fun, easy to talk to, and charismatic. I'm intelligent and funny. Funny always seems to be a go-to word. I make other people laugh because a lot of the time I wish that I could make myself feel the way that they do, laugh the way that they're laughing and have that smile.
The last time I saw a group of friends of mine—at the rate that we're at I only see them about two or three times a year—one of them just looked at me and told me, "You have really pretty eyes." I didn't know how to respond because I know that he was seeing through things. He was seeing the broken side of me that I don't let others see. I could also see it in him, though. He does the same thing. He tries to show people a good time and make them laugh constantly just so they don't stop and look at him and see what he's hiding.
I don't think that either of us are ashamed of our depression—it's not something that anyone SHOULD be ashamed of. I think it's that we're afraid that if other people saw it then the first things they would do are start asking, "Why? Did something happen? What's wrong, what happened?" Do you really want to know what happened? Well, we can start with my childhood. How much time are you willing to spend to figure out "what happened" to cause my depression? How much do you even care? It's not like you're going to stay, you're going to leave, just like the rest of them anyway, so is there a point in me answering? No, there never really is. The easiest answer is, "I'm fine."
It sounds so cliche to say that because people always say "I'm fine" to avoid admitting their sadness. The "I'm fine" thing should just be considered a damn internet movement at this point. People face sadness. People rarely know the difference between sadness, depression, and anxiety. Depression is my favorite of the three.
That's horrible to say. It's like I can stand back and look at my life and see it as this morbid and grotesque trainwreck disaster, but I just... don't care. I feel completely nothing towards it. I feel nothing about what's going on in my life, I feel nothing towards anyone. It's just this apathy that's hanging over my head and it's twisted and it's horrible but it's beautiful because despite all the thoughts that are coming along with it, I feel nothing. I just feel nothing. I'm realizing its existence, and I'm feeling nothing.
It's the anxiety that I hate—that's when the tears begin to fall. That's when the makeup begins to run, and I actually feel the sadness. I see what could be, what should be, and I feel the burden weighing on my chest of knowing that I need to fix the existence that I live in, and feel powerless. The sadness and anxiety are the worst. Those are the ones I care about, and those are the ones that give me feeling and make me feel like I should be able to do something about it.
It's like this demon laughing at me saying, "You can't do it. Look at what you've created? You've created this yourself." The depression will stare back at it and say, "I don't care. I don't want to fix it. I don't have the will to fix it anymore. I'd rather just lie here in this bed and watch everything burn. The flames can be beautiful. Maybe that will make me feel something."
The anxiety speaks up; tears start to fall. Screaming in my head constantly that I can't let this happen, I can't sit and watch this trainwreck! By the time it speaks up, it's too late to change it. The train has crashed and I see the small fire starting. Staring at it, I'll start to cry. I'll watch the flame start to rise and feel powerless, crying harder, my shoulders shaking from the sobs. I go back to what I know, "I can't fix this."
Then when the true flames start—there's no more desire to put them out. Just stare at them, watching everything burn, and hoping that maybe this time when they're charring my flesh, that I'll turn to ash instead of actually feeling the pain when I come out of this. I don't want to feel the pain anymore—I just hope that one day I'll turn to ash.
The Phoenix always rises from the ash, doesn't it? Maybe, just maybe, I'll come back stronger if I finally let it consume me. Maybe I'll be like the Phoenix too.