Depression

Depression is a fog. It clouds your mind and heart and is a veil over not just the bad things, but also the good. I realised this the day that mine began to act up on a perfectly sunny, summer afternoon, when I should have felt happy. And I didn’t. Instead, I felt that sinking pit in the depths of my stomach, that signalled to me that something wasn’t right. And it hadn’t been right for many, many years. I have never been formally diagnosed with depression, but the symptoms are all there, and it runs in my family. My brother, my Mom, my Aunt, and so on, have suffered from anxiety and depression related issues. And I’m no different. Some days, even when I know it’s beautiful outside, I can’t even be bothered to get up early enough to fully enjoy the day.

Depression comes in many forms, and mine is made up of many different parts, shifting day to day. Some days are great, and I feel hopeful. Others are terrible, and I feel as if I’m going no where in life. My depression is particularly triggered by hormonal changes each month, which make me become very unstable at times, and very, very dark. It’s like a hurricane hitting my brain, and all the power goes off. But I recognised this some years back, and it helped me manage to push through it each month, because I knew it was coming. But depression isn’t always the extremes, it can be much more subtle, and sinister, than all that.

Depression, for me, is: The inability to fall asleep at a decent time. Never sleeping well. waking up so many times per night it’s unnatural. Feeling tired no matter how much sleep I get. Feeling forgetful most of the day. Being unable to motivate myself to go to the gym even though I know it’s good for me. Not caring what I eat. The inability to focus on simple things, like reading and writing, when I have an English degree. Applying for jobs but having no hope anymore that I’ll ever hear back. Trying desperately to convince myself that things will get better, but realising, maybe they won’t. Maybe this is just how life is. Maybe some people don’t get to be happy, because something is stopping them from achieving said happiness. Feeling like an asshole for complaining when you have a privileged life, and you’re incredibly aware of it. Being grateful and yet sad simultaneously. Wanting more, but believing you’re undeserving of it. Needing affection and intimacy but being unable to find it, or ask for it. Wanting to find love but feeling like you’re unworthy of it. Deciding that not everyone is meant to love, that it’s a privilege, not a guarantee, and you must just be one of those people who isn’t meant to find it. No one outside your immediate family will ever love you. Ever. And letting that eat away at you until it drives you mad. And then you sleep, and wake up the next day, and hope it’s one of those good days, where you picture yourself back in London, or Manchester, or Paris, when things felt ok, when you had hope that one day you might find a job in New York or LA or somewhere else that made you feel like you were part of something greater than yourself. But remembering, once more, that you are not. You’re not meant for greatness. There’s nothing special about you, apart from your delusions of grandeur, and this is why you’re never happy. You believe you’re worth much more than you actually are. You’re pathetic, and boring, and mediocre, just like you always feared. And sometimes those people find love and happiness, but you’re not like those people. You’re alone, in your bed, at noon on a Tuesday, wondering how you have an MA in Creative Writing from one of the best universities in the United Kingdom, and the world, and you’re still at home, trapped, like sand in an hourglass.

That’s Depression.

Kelsey H. 7.28.17

SOS

I’m just so fucking sad and disappointed in myself and life and everything. I have worked so hard to get my BA and my MA, I’ve gone to three universities, I’ve worked a bunch of part time, minimum wage jobs, I literally moved to a different continent to get an affordable education and I come back here and I apply to job after job after job and I hear NOTHING back from anyone and I am at the end of my rope tbh. I can’t stay in this town anymore I want to die most of the time when I’m here there is NOTHING here for me or anyone else, it’s a dead end and it’s filled with townies who have zero ambition and Stepford Wives who are one more shot of botox away from looking like real, actual goddamn robots and I just HAVE to get OUT of here. I want to be a writer, I need to network and get out there and that’s why I am so desperately trying to get to California or New York or somewhere that feels like LIFE is actually happening because let me tell you what it’s NOT happening here. When I boarded my flight in London in September to come back here (after applying for jobs in England for MONTHS and hearing nothing) I took a Xanax and drank two mini bottles of Spanish wine and still had a panic attack as I wept because I KNEW I’d be trapped here and I’d never get out and once again my instincts were right.

I am drowning. And there’s no lifeguard on duty.

The Bathtub

She sat in the lukewarm water for going on the second hour, and kept her eyes closed, not wanting to accidentally catch her reflection in the mirror opposite. She used to fit in this tiny bathtub much more easily, but she had stopped paying attention to what she ate at least six months ago; maybe longer, she couldn’t be sure anymore. The bath salts had settled under her legs and bum, the bubbles long since popped, leaving a milky, white film on the surface of the water. That deep sense of aching, that had been permeating her stomach and chest for hours was still there, sinking her further down onto the white ceramic, until she felt absorbed by the cool material. She never knew where this sadness came from, but when it hit, it felt like being stuck in a room as you watch the walls slowly be consumed with fire, and you’re waiting for the inevitable explosion. The heat of the flames sounded good right now, she mused. Reaching the tap to add hot water to the tub would be simple, but she couldn’t muster the energy to rise up and reach out for it, so instead, she sank further, until her head dipped below the surface of the water, and she could taste the manufactured lavender scent against her tongue. She didn’t know how long she was going to stay under there.

Original Work: Kelsey H. 1.23.17

2008

I think Barack Obama was a good President, and I think he is a good person as well. Was he a perfect President? No. Did he makes mistakes? Of course. Did I agree with all of the decisions he made as President? Absolutely not. But I am able to see the bigger picture, and understand his impact on history, and culture, and celebrate his many accomplishments, whilst still acknowledging his failures as well.

Working on President Obama’s 2008 campaign saved me during a very dark time in my life. College was hard for me. I struggled a lot meeting people and making friends. I found out about a group of students on campus who supported Obama before he even announced his candidacy in February 2007. And I joined them. During college, I suffered from crippling loneliness, anxiety, and depression, and dealt with daily panic attacks for months. His campaign, and the friends I made whilst working on it, SAVED me. They gave me purpose, they gave me drive, and they gave me friendship. My time working for his campaign gave me a reason to keep going, and something to believe in. It gave me hope. And he HAS changed the landscape and trajectory of American history, whether people like to acknowledge that fact or not.

I am grateful. Eternally grateful. And I will never forget that, or apologize for it. Thank you, President Obama. For everything.

KEH. 1.11.17