In early November of 2016, I stayed with my parents in Ontario for about five weeks. It was a tough time for me – my depression had reared its ugly head, and was a weight on my shoulders that wouldn’t let me up. I was drowning.
When I arrived in Ontario, I slept for days. My depression had led to strep throat, which became bronchitis, which turned into me sleeping for nearly twenty hours a day. When I wasn’t sleeping, I was crying.
I remember one Sunday in particular. I woke up and the sunshine was coming through my window, and I felt instantly energized. I wanted to be outside. It was even warm – winter hadn’t yet begun, and the air still smelled of that crisp autumn earthy smell. My parents asked me to go for a walk with them, and for the first time in nearly a week, I left the house.
We walked for maybe half an hour. At the beginning of the walk I was so full of hope – Could this be the start of my healing? Is it this easy? Did I just need to see the sun?
But after about ten minutes, a dark cloud moved in, casting a shadow over only me; the sun still shone for the rest of the world.
You will never be happy. Do you really want to spend the rest of your life crying in bed?
I started to cry, walked ahead of my parents, and lead the way home. I walked into the backyard and sat on the patio stairs. Dad came and sat beside me and let me cry into his shoulder.
I will never forget the conversation we had next:
“Dad, I wish I had cancer. Because then I would have something wrong with me that people could see, and I wouldn’t feel so ashamed to feel this way.”
“I know sweetie, depression is hard.”
“Dad, I don’t want to live anymore. I just want to say good-bye to my family and friends, and just go some place where it doesn’t hurt.”
This was the first time I had said the words out loud – The first time I said them to another human being – They were no longer just scribbles in my journal. Someone else finally knew how I felt, and it was freeing.
I am not sharing this story to make you sad (even though I have shed a tear or two while sitting here writing it), but I am sharing it to show you how far I have come.
I know that it feels like it’s going to last forever, but it won’t. I promise. It’s not all good, but it’s not all bad either. Your dark cloud will go away, the weight will lift, and the tears will dry. I believe in you.
I love you, Dad.