Think of depression as a really big room. Basketball court size. And all around the outside walls are doors. Dozens and dozens of doors.
I am standing in the middle of the room with the doors open wide. Light streaming in. Heat from the sun warming the space. Colors highlighting the walls and floor. Happy sounds heard from outside. Birds chirping. People talking. Children laughing. Music playing. Upbeat. Bright. Joyful. Reminds me of a beautiful Spring day.
Slowly turning, I notice a door is shut. Huh. When did that happen? I keep on my way and out of the corner of my eye, another door is shut. Oh, here is another. But still. Many, many, many doors are open allowing fresh, clean air in. Yet, those close doors bother me. Making me question the how and why they closed. Turning my focus away from what is important and dear to me.
Day after day, I wake to find more doors closed. I stand in this wide open room to see the darkness in the corners covering more area. The brightness begins to dull. The voices turn lackluster. The music melancholy. Reminds me of a gray Winter day.
Then one day…
The last door slams shut.
I am standing in the blackest of black night.
Not one spot of light comes through.
The only sound I hear is the pounding of my heart. BOOM. BOOM. BOOM. Deafening. Intense. Overwhelming.
I call out. My voice echos against the emptiness. Can anyone hear me? Hello?! I stumble when I take my first step but it is so dark. Darker than I have ever experienced. My arms are stretched out before me. Hoping to make contact with the wall. For the wall leads to a light switch. And a light switch leads to a door. And a door takes me to the light.
Tiny steps forward. Oh but wait. Should I go this way? No. Maybe the door is over here. Behind me! That is where the doors are. I turn in a circle but nothing is there. Except blackness. The black starts to close in on me. I am unable to rationally move or think. Everything is impossible. Hysteria rises in my throat. Tears burn behind my eyes. I trip on pure air and slam hard on the floor. Blood bleeding from my broken body. I scream out in pain. But nobody hears me. I am scared. So fucking scared. No way out. The thought pops into my head.
No way out. No way out. No way out.
My mind rolls these words around and around. Now my heart grabs them. No way out. I am lost in this dark, dark place. The hope of escaping is gone. Vanished with the light. My life is now filled with dark. My heart is filled with dark. My head is filled with dark. My body is filled with dark.
Somehow, I sit up. Gathering what little strength I have to crawl across the midnight floor. Pulling my broken pieces with me. My hand brushes against something concrete. I am hesitant. Scared that this maybe a trick. A mirage of sorts. A cool drink of water after wandering the desert for days. Will it make me sick if I drink to quickly? Will it turn to sand before it touches my lips? Maybe I should just stay in the dark. Darkness says it is my friend. But no. I know the darkness lies. It has been lying to me this whole time. Telling me I am not worthy. I am not lovable. I am not strong. I am not capable. I am a burden. I am weak. I am pathetic. I am nothing.
Desperately, I grab hold of the doorknob. Locked. The key. I must find the key. Oh here it is. A pill. Which opens one door.
I worked so hard and I only opened one door. ONE DOOR. ONE REALLY HEAVY, HUGE DOOR. THAT’S IT?! But look. Look. Light. I see it. There it is. Oh, hi. Hey, another key to a door across the room. Therapy. More light streams into my room. The therapy door opens the yoga door which opens taking walks outside door. In turn, that door opens the essential oils door who opened daily vitamins door. Day after day. Week after week of tirelessly working to find each separate key to each door, I have opened dozens of doors.
However, many are still shut. But the room is warm again. I can hear the joyful noises again. I can smell the sweet earth. I can smile alongside of my children. The doors stay open. I keep exploring. Oh another key. Praying and church going. Door opens. Another key. Writing and sharing my story. Door opens. Physically connecting with friends. Door opens. Saying no. Door opens. Saying yes. Door opens.
I stand in the middle of this large, vast room. Darkness lingers in the corners. I am still scared of what could happen if everything turns black again. I don’t stop searching for the other keys. Oh no. A door shuts. Winter has come closing a few. Loudly! BANGING AGAINST THE SILENCE. Lamp light. Door opens. Extra vitamins. Door opens. I make it through. The doors open again. Trauma resurfaces. Slamming multiple doors. Again. So I crawl to the wall for the key. Asking for help. Door opens. Changing medication. Door opens.
I live in this room called depression. Everyday I labor to keep the doors open. Everyday I live with many doors permanently closed. Everyday I attempt to find the hidden keys. These keys allow the light to flood in. Into my heart. Into my soul. Into my brain. These doors open and close constantly. Keeping me vigilant and alert.
Darkness is present.
But the light overwhelms.
The light overpowers.
The light overcomes.
When all is blacker than ever before. When all hope is saying no way out, no way out, no way out. When the mirage is whispering secretive lies in your ears. When the echo of the emptiness deafens you.
I am here to tell you.
The doors open.