I never thought I’d fall this far.
I never expected to end up where I am right now.
And up until this moment I was completely unaware of the distance I had covered. I was blind to everything that was happening around me. But then suddenly I was trapped at the bottom of this bottomless place that is darkness and is called depression. I grope in the darkness for something to hold on to, but there is nothing. Even the ground is unstable, covered in sharp rocks that cause me to fall.
I wander blindly, unsure of where to go. I know that I need to go up, but the path there is unclear... if it even exists. There may be no way out. I reach my arm out for help, but I’m pulled back down. No, pushed back down. The entire world is a weight forcing me down, deeper and deeper.
At some point, I see a friend throw me a ladder. But it is not for me to climb out, but for them to go down. I thought they were trying to rescue me, but I quickly find that there is no being saved from here.
Days pass, then weeks, and soon I have lost track. Time melts together until each day feels the same as the previous. Or maybe those days are hours, and those hours only seconds. Time has become eternally slow, yet I can’t keep up no matter how hard I try.
Maybe it was the first day, maybe it was years in, but suddenly the darkness speaks. It is alive, and its name is depression. Its voice is low and sad. It urges me to hide from the world, because the world has done nothing good for me. It tells me that it isn’t worth it to try at anything, even what I once loved.
Slowly, the figure carrying that voice materializes out of the darkness. It takes me.
I push it away, but it stays latched onto my head.
I claw and scream at it to leave me alone.
It does not.
Eventually, as I wander deeper into the abyss, I learn to deal with it. Even appreciate it. Its doctrine is now correct - its once-lies are now foundational truths. I forget about the wretched light above me and continue my pointless, directionless journey as though it was neither.
I become more familiar with depression. My eyes adjust to the void and I learn what it - no, he - looks like. I can even see him coming from a distance when he wants to meet me. He looks like I do, but his eyes are hollow, concealed by shadow, and his hair is jet black. He wears a torn, ragged shirt that hides his tentacles. If I ever try to leave him, he pulls me back with them and tells me it isn’t worth it.
I give in more easily to him now than I once did.
One day, Depression tells me about his victims. I start noticing they’re all around me, but rarely close enough to reach out and touch. Even those who are just starting to climb in fade into the darkness.
Days, maybe months later, another voice cuts the darkness. An echo, perhaps, reverberating off of unseen walls. A flash of red would cross my vision and then be gone a moment later. Depression tells me her name is Anxiety. I think her red light is blinding.
Her tactics are different, but yet all the same somehow. Everything here becomes the same after some time. She always waits until I'm distracted by something, then grabs me and fills my head with things I'm not doing or doing wrong. She pulls the air from my lungs and brings feelings of panic.
She is friends with depression. And I am friends with depression. So, despite my instincts I once had eons ago, I must become friends with anxiety.
I never quite figure her out like I do Depression. She's not around as much. I can see her bright colors from a distance when she does come, but these moments are rare. When she is here, my entire being both craves and resists her. She is an enigma, a paradox of emotion.
Although when you think about it, many emotions are paradoxical.
Her and depression overpower me. I didn't even realize it happening at first. Some time ago they lured me into the darkness, into this vast expanse of nothing but pain I both love and hate. They looked like friends, something I could latch on to. I didn't see them doing harm. They comforted me in this place. But when my senses finally return on that day, I realize how wrong I was.
I push them away when they come, but they've grown so strong. They know my thoughts and have learned my responses. They project images into the darkness. Images from distant corners of my own mind. Images that I tried desperately to remove completely, only to have them surface again and again.
I see a blade. It goes across my skin over and over, trails of blood pooling below.
I see an orange bottle. I drop the pills in my hand and start to swallow them.
A gun, loaded.
A car, swerving.
I see hundreds of other ways I could die. I didn’t want this. I force Depression and Anxiety away, but there is nothing I can do. My fists have no effect on them, my words leave them unfazed. Sobbing, I collapse onto the ground.
It is cold and rough as it once was. I rake my nails across the rocks, tear at my hair. There is a sound cutting through the darkness like a knife.
The other people in the distance, at the edge of darkness, take notice. But they go back about their business, their forms blurring again at the edge of this realm.
I look up. Depression is staring at me, anxiety lurking behind him. I’ve never seen Depression smile. Did he?
I need freedom from this void. All the effort I put in… it all seems in vain. Some days I fight back and can keep them at bay. Other days they have me by the throat the moment I wake up. But they're always there, somewhere. Always watching me, always waiting for weakness.
If I could go back, I would never have stepped into this void. I look back and can see myself stepping closer to the edge until I’m in too far. But now I am trapped. The best I can do is cope, and try to stop anyone else from falling in. One thing Depression and Anxiety can never do is destroy my humanity.
I will survive this, I will find the end of the endless void, and when I do I won’t ever come back.