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Hopeful Depression

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Imani is a senior Applied Math major who's had a passion for writing for years. She has published a few poems and short stories.

Sometimes, my depression looks like me standing in the kitchen, drinking iced tea, with one earbud in and no pants, half listening to my roommate talk about her day and wondering if 10:39 pm is too early for me to go to bed. Not to sleep, just to be there. Anyone who knows me, knows I thrive once the sun goes down and I don’t usually fall asleep until 3 am. But there are many days, where I sit and stare at the clock, watching the minutes pass, waiting for an acceptable time for me to retreat to my room for the night without causing alarm.

My roommate would be the first to notice, as she usually is. She’s right by all the action, or lack thereof. She’s usually nice enough not to approach me about it, until I’ve skipped class and work for 3 days and haven’t left my bed, except to walk my dog. Then there’s a gentle knock on my door and she says she wants to know if I want food, which really translates to, “I’m worried”. It’s become a thing between us of unspoken questions posed as regular ones. Like, “did you walk Ben?” means “have you left your bed at all today?” Or “would you like a sandwich?” means “when was the last time you ate?” But its only when I see a pint of non-dairy Cherry Garcia ice cream sitting in the freezer, that I know she’s worried and doesn’t know what else to do. Buying my favorite ice cream and silently putting it in the freezer is her last attempt to try to pull me out of darkness before getting outside help. I don’t know if she knows that I recognize her kindness and too much of a bitch to tell her how much I appreciate her. And I do.

Regardless of all the time I spend in it, my bed has become one of my least favorite places to be. Its just a nest for my depression and anxiety to lay in and grow. I used to fight it. I used to go to the gym or the library or a local coffeeshop, anywhere to get out the house. But then there would be days, where I open my eyes, and I didn’t move at all. Maybe, I’ll scroll through social media but usually, I just lay there, drifting in and out of sleep until it gives me a headache. Soon, I had more and more of these days. I used to justify it by saying I had to get all the sleep I could, because at night, I couldn’t sleep without to help of alcohol or weed. But, this was just an excuse, so those around me wouldn’t be alarmed. They’re still alarmed, they just don’t say anything.

But I’m healing. I don’t know if depression is something that ever goes away. Maybe it stays with you, but you learn to cope with it, learn to handle it. I am better than I was yesterday and even better than I was 3 years ago. I smile. I laugh. I have a support system I never would’ve thought I could have or even deserved. And though there are still plenty of days where I can’t leave my bed, its less days than before and it’ll be even less days in the future.

© 2021 Imani Jade