It Would be Wrong to Call You Friend

Dear Depression,

We’ve known each other for most of our lives now, but I wish I could say that I’ve enjoyed your company along the way. The harsh reality is that you’re always there when I’m at my worst, a familiar face that’s there to kick me when I’m in need and you never have anything good to say to pull me up from the hole I’m in. Yet we’re still inseparable, like I need someone around to keep punishing me for the crimes I believe I’ve committed. Why do you always bring up my most painful memories? Why do you remind me of my inadequacies and my inability to persevere with my goals? Why do you lie to me about how I see myself, turning my better qualities into illusions or fabrications? You’re a cruel perpetrator, unrelenting in the wicked game you like to play.

Despite all that, when you’re gone I do appreciate what I’ve managed to cultivate from the pain and suffering you’ve shown me. I have a greater appreciation for the world I live in and the people that truly matter to me. You remind me that without you there’s a reason to be kinder to my fellow man, in case you or someone like you is choosing them now as the victim or because you have spent time torturing them in the past. They too can understand what it means to be free of you and to foster compassion and empathy for others who struggle in this world, with their own abuser that may visit them from time to time.

Yet, I wonder if I’ll ever be free of you. There’s only so much to learn from you before your presence becomes painfully redundant and the suffering is suffering only for the sake of it. What would it take for you to leave and never come back? Is that possible given the nature of what we both are? I’m bound to you as much as you are to me and without you it would feel strange to be happy and have that freedom to live my life to the full. How would I know what to do with that after so long being at your mercy?

Still, I know that life without you would be a release and I would finally be able to live the life I’ve always wanted to, given enough time to learn how to. The life where I see the worth in my actions and the reason to celebrate life instead of wallowing in the tragedy of it all. I hope one day before too long I can say goodbye to you and learn to only remember you free from any negative influence you have over me. We all deserve to be set free from your shackles and others like you.

I look forward to that day.

Yours sincerely,


A Bleeding Heart with Three Names

I look into myself and see nothing but the cool, dark space of a wound that will never heal. What once was full of hope, full of certainty for a future with the only person that mattered, is now a deep, gloomy well with no visible way to see down with the naked eye. The rope down is slippery and wet, but my hands are coarse with the scars that were inflicting by holding on to you. I slowly descend into the abyss of the passage way, which never seems to end. The chill increases with bitterness the further down I go, so that I can’t feel anything through my body. There was warmth here once, but that was long ago.


Finally, my feet touch the ground, sluggish and thick with the bloody, shallow water. The rope breaks away into pieces that evaporate before they touch the bottom. This is all there is now. There is only one way forward. I press a hand against the well wall, to feel it’s ragged surface, stroking along to get familiar with this old situation. Then, after a while, I find a small hole just large enough for a finger. I poke a finger inside, only to have a small piece of the wall break away. This is only temporary, but it lasts forever in my mind. I continue to bring the wall down around me, chip by chip, increasing the size of the hole, until I reveal a smooth surface, big enough for me to press my whole body against. The wall gives way and slides open like a door.


As soon as the passage way opens, beaming white light pours through blinding me for a moment. When my vision returns, I can see that the smooth door is as white as bone, with a round room ahead. I enter and step forward a few paces, as the door closes behind me. There is an altar in the center of the ornate room, which has pillars right around, with a ceiling bursting with pure white light. On the altar, there is my bloody beating heart, pierced with three black, thick needles. At the top of the needles there are three spheres, filled with three different objects. The first is a ball of green light, that pulsates with different shades. The second is a small, unborn fetus, swimming a pool of murky pink fluid. The third is a delicate, fine key in a block of gold, translucent glass.


I pull out the needle with the ball of green light and the heart starts to beat at a slow, pulsing rate. I smash the head of the needle against the altar and the ball of green light floats up into the ceiling and the pure white light changes to cycling shades of green. A doorway to the left of me opens, revealing a passage way to a new area. I walk towards it.


The room ahead of me is gray and dusky, with a wall of clear, thick glass just in front of me, with two holes carved into to place my hands through. On the other side of the holes behind the sheet of glass, there is a glass sphere floating in the air, with pure white light beaming inside of it. On the far wall behind the glass, there is three indentations in a line equally spaced next to each other, big enough for the sphere to fit into each. I place my hands through the holes in the glass and hold on to the sphere, then with a little bit of effort I throw the sphere at the first indentation. The sphere smashes apart and the light is absorbed into the indentation and it lights up with a pale red light. Out of thin air, another sphere appears with the same white light, ready to be thrown at the next indentation. I hold onto it and do the same again, throwing it at the wall. This time the indentation lights up amber. Then, once again, the sphere appears and after the same action the indentation lights up green, but after this the word ‘RUN’ lights up at the top of the wall. I freeze in place, despite knowing what to do, as the holes in the glass suddenly fill up, closing tight, severing my hands in the process. I fall down on my knees, watching the blood pour from my limbs onto the floor and I feel like I’m going to pass out. Then the room flickers into darkness. Suddenly, I can feel my hands attached to my arms again and I bring them up to cover my face. Then, the room glows with a bright, white light and I bring my hands back to my knees. Looking down on the floor where the blood used to be is now a bronze coin, with the picture of a green orb in the center. I pick it up then leave the room. Back in the ornate room, the door from whence I came seals shut.


I walk up to the altar and decide to remove the middle needle. I smash the sphere at the end of the needle on the altar and the fluid pours out, then the fetus contained within drops to the ground and starts to melt into the floor. The ceiling pulsates with shades of pink light and a doorway opens in the right hand side wall, leading to another area and I walk over to enter.


Inside this new place is a space around walls made up of fleshy muscles. The ground is soft with the same fleshy muscles, but strong under my feet. Ahead is three passage ways with which I can go through. My only instinct is to go through the one on the far left, so I walk onward and enter into it. As I walk down the passage way, I suddenly feel myself pulled deeper inside, absorbed into the darkness. I black out. Then, when I awake, I am a small toddler again, sitting in an ordinary living room. There are three people, at least what I can call people, covered in blood and grime, faceless and hairless. They are holding sledgehammers in their hands, which have their fingers sewn together. They turn my way, then pick up the heavy sledgehammer’s in their hands and then start to destroy the room around me. All I do is hear the crumbling of the plaster, the cracking of the stone and the sound of the blows, frozen in place not knowing what to do. When the room is completely destroyed around me, the people turn to me and then lift up the sledgehammer’s in their hands and slam them down on me. Everything goes black. Then, slowly but surely, I wake up back in the original room with the fleshy walls. The passage way ahead to my left is closed and the remaining two passage ways are open. I walk down the entrance to the middle passage way and I get sucked in again.


I am a young boy, in a simple classroom sitting at a small, classroom table in the center of the room. Around me are similar young children, but like the people in the previous living room, they are faceless, but this time covered in beige, paper outfits. There is a teacher figure at the front of the classroom, the same as the other people, faceless and wearing a paper outfit. The figure reaches out with a cane in hand, pointing to the chalk board on the wall. Written on it is the sentence ‘Punish them for the crimes against you. Three knives. You choose.’ I look down at my table and see three especially sharp blades lying there neatly in a line. There is a indescribable noise coming from the rest of my fellow students. I pick up a blade and get up and walk up behind the student in front of me. I hold the pupils head with my one hand and thrust the blade into their chest with the other. The pupil shrieks and then slowly crumbles into ash. I do the same with the other two blades, with pupils at the back left and right of the room. When I’m done, I sit back at my table, resting my arms on it. Suddenly, the table grows and wraps around my arms, securing them in place so I cannot move. The teacher walks towards me with the cane and lifts it to strike me across the face. Everything goes black. I appear back at the first fleshy room once again.


All that’s left now is the final passage way, so I make my way down it to be sucked in. I come to, sitting around a large, burning camp fire. I am a teenage boy and there are my fellow peers sat around the fire with me, faceless and covered in black slime. The boy opposite me is holding a bottle in his hand, which is cycling in technicolour light. The boy passes the bottle to the next person, a girl, and then the girl passes it on to the next boy, until it finally reaches me. I look into the bottle and see a clear solution, but I have doubts that it’s just ordinary water. My peers motion me to drink out of the strange bottle. I bring the bottle to my lips and take a mouthful of the liquid, which to my surprise tastes of nothing. I take another mouthful and then pass on the bottle to the next person. I stare into the fire, then after a while I start to see visions against the flames. I am there witnessing the memories of my life, from when I was a newborn, to where I am as an adult, back in the fleshy room. I see the gentle, playful and happy moments where I am embraced by my loved ones. I see the harsh reality of making mistakes with the people that never served my best interest. I see all the moments in the world around me, with the maelstrom of emotions from the different scenarios I found myself in, in the places where I believed I belong. Maybe I did belong, for a time. After the story of my life finishes unfolding, with each blissful, antagonising and ambivalent scene, I come back to my senses to see that everyone is gone. Then, before I can say anything, the fire roars loud and blazes even higher, as it then starts to consume me. I smell the nasty odour of my flesh burning as I writhe in agony, before I fall to the ground blacking out. I am then sent back to the fleshy room.


All the entrances are sealed up now and I stand there, perplexed, not really knowing what to do. Then, just as I think about leaving the room, a silver coin drops from the ceiling and hits the floor in the middle of the room. I walk over and pick it up, noticing that it has the picture of a baby in the middle. I return to the ornate room once again.


Back in the room, I walk up to the altar to remove the final needle. As I do, the heart beats faster still, but then as it seems it can’t get any quicker, it finally pops internally and then the pulsating heart is dead still, beating no more. I take the needle and smash the sphere at the end against the altar, watching the golden glass hit the floor and shatter, revealing the delicate key. The ceiling turns bright will golden shades, then suddenly starts to freeze over and show only a single dim golden light. I don’t want to be here anymore. The wall in the center of the room peels away to reveal another door, this time different from the others. I walk up to its surface and see that there are two slots and a keyhole across the middle of the door. I take the coins that I have on me, along with the key, and then look again at the door. I put the bronze coin in the left slot. Then, I put the silver coin in the second slot. Finally, I insert the key into the keyhole and turn it, as the door starts to rumble and turn out into an opening, which feels inviting, with daylight shining in. I walk forward and then feel the essence of a warm, gentle embrace.


I catch my attention again. My hands are on a decorative storage box on a table in front of me. It is open and I can see the photographs of the time I spent with you. I see radiant smiles and funny faces. I see the memories of what it was like when you were still alive. I close the storage box and then look around me in the home that we shared together. Where once I felt grief and sadness, I now feel more complete again knowing that you were a special part of my life and always will be. I look outside the living room window and I see that it’s beaming with sunshine outside. It’s the fresh start of a spring day and I feel ready to leave this place and venture out once again. I grab my coat that’s draped over one of the chairs and then turn to the front door. I pull on the handle, then as I turn the door open I stop for a moment to look back, wondering what awaits me in the future. What new memories will I make here? Will I ever find someone like you again? Then, the moment passes and I step out into the light, ready for the adventure into the unknown. I’m ready to feel my heart beat again. I’m ready to live a life without you.


The Connections Between Us

Early this year I had another episode of being manic, which led to me acting bizarre around a number of people, including friends. After coming back down to reality and becoming depressed for many months, I eventually got my health back to a reasonable state and had time to reflect on my actions. It was at this point I attempted to reconnect with the people I had disturbed in some way.

Unfortunately, when it comes to mental illness, there are those who can only see you for the person who is unwell, without recognising that you are going through the motions of being mentally ill and this becomes what you are judged by. Others distance themselves even if they do understand, because they don’t want someone in their lives who disrupts their world in that way. Very few seem to accept you and stand by you….so my attempts to reconnect with those who were affected mostly ended in disappointment and rejection. I lost a community of people who I was a part of and it was that blow that affected me most. All this results in more isolation. Recovering and making new contacts presents a greater challenge, especially in such a small town.

Another thing I wanted to mention, is that around all this I entered a romantic relationship with someone. While this is wonderful and I couldn’t be happier, I do have to take into consideration my ill health and the journey of building other connections, as well as creating a life for myself, without depending too much on the relationship for support. I think this is the important factor in having a successful relationship. No matter how understanding and how much your partner is able to relate to you, being able to manage and thrive with tackling your mental health alone, is in my opinion, essential. We have to depend on ourselves to overcome our difficulties, first and foremost.

While being around people who have similar mental health issues can help and certainly bring people together, it does not guarantee the success of forming a connection. I think a number of people who have mental health issues have been hurt by people in the past and it can take a great deal of trust and confidence to open up and form a bond with someone. From my own experiences, having lost so many people over the years, getting close to others comes with the anxiety of pushing them away or disturbing them to the point of losing them. What does it take for someone to stand by you when you lose your mind? I would say it takes someone to get to know the real you beyond the illness, being able to see you for who you are at heart, after all, we are not our mental illness; it is something we have to contend with in our everyday lives.

Saying all this, I am hopeful for the future. I am hopeful with the partner I have in my life now and it encourages me to let other people in to form friendships with. It encourages me to create opportunities to band together with others and work with them. It encourages me to want to help others again, who have been where I have and know the difficulties with forming and maintaining relationships.

It’s the people in our lives that matter most and make a difference to the world we have around us. Being honest and open with who we are, where possible, will hopefully bring the people into our lives that we deserve and who deserve us in kind.

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