Depression is fierce and mean and heavy and angry.

I am in a long black tunnel that has stretched for nearly two weeks. I write these paragraphs on behalf of those who are slogging through the thick mud of it, those who don’t have the energy to think or the words to say: Hey, what she said. I’m there now. And I need help.

I remember swimming in a lake at summer camp. I remember diving down to the deepest parts, never quite able to see or touch the bottom. I only remember that it was cold and dark down there, colder and darker the deeper I dove.

The surface of the water felt miles away, and sometimes it felt like my lungs would burst before I could find air again.

Depression lives at the bottom of the lake.

It is three-fold.

There is the physical element. Sometimes depression is the result of an imbalance or a dip in physiology. There are doctors to monitor these levels and medications to keep your brain from misfiring and sending error messages.

There is the emotional element. Depression feels like a cold, weighted blanket that pulls on your neck and shoulders. It makes everything heavy, too much to lift. You cannot carry thoughts, energy, friends, routines, or self care.

There is the spiritual element: Depression can make you question everything you think you thought you maybe knew before. It can pierce your faith and rock your core. It is relentless in its pursuit of your joy.

When these three elements draw you into their darkness, you can feel like you’re at the very bottom of the lake. Cold. Black. Too far to from the surface, close to running out of air.

If you feel this way and you’re all alone, forward this post to someone. Anyone. And say, “Hey… what she said. I’m in that place. Help me.”

If you know someone who feels this way, forward this post to them. And say, “Hey… what she said. You’re not alone. I can help you.”

You who are in this place, please hear me: I get you. And it won’t always be this way.

(That’s what they tell me, and my only hope is to believe them.)

I’m still underwater, but I’m not in the deepest depths today. I can see the sunshine at the top, even though it’s blurred through the murky water. Someday I’ll emerge and take a deep breath.

Someday, I’ll picnic on the shore.

For now, I’m holding onto the life preserver, believing it won’t always be this way.

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