Dear Depression: Thank You

A letter for depression, the illness that tries to kill me and, strangely, gives me reasons to stay alive, too. Depression, thank you for helping me recognize when I need to step back and take care of myself, to temporarily disengage from the real or imagined thoughts of readers, lovers, family. I feel like “too much” and “not enough” at the same time. I feel like I write too much and not enough, love too much and not enough, sleep too much and not enough… Depression, you have really fucked with me over the last seventeen (or twenty-seven) years, but without you, I would not have the life I currently have, the material of all the writing that keeps me alive and helps me find friends and communities and words. My zines and books would not exist without you.

Thank you, depression, for clarifying when you’ve arrived because my brain chemicals have gone all wonky again, or if you are here to reveal the outer forces (binaries! politics! freaking out over what “success” means! complicated communications and dealing with change!) trying to wreck my psyche. Thanks for sometimes responding to meds and sometimes not. Thanks for helping me figure out my Crazy politic, for helping me determine what is good for me and what is not. You made me an alcoholic and a fuck-up and I’m glad I’ve lived to tell it.

You’ve also taught me how to appreciate the little things. You are why I take pictures of flowers and graffiti, stop to pet strange animals on the street, read voraciously and constantly, write letters to my friends and other zinesters, cultivate feelings of ‘home’ wherever I go, and get tattoos. Thanks for coming back to remind me that I’m going through the Return of Saturn, and that it’s okay be twenty-seven and not feel okay, not feel satisfied, and to stay alive and keep trying to find ways feel content, loved, supported. You’ve left some scars on my body that will help me tell stories forever.

Thank you for daring me to make changes, for making it clear when I need to take time for myself to figure out my priorities. Thanks for all the lists and dreams and friends. Thanks for trying to kill me. Thanks for the rapture and the misery. I’m not trying to destroy, you know; I’m trying to live in harmony with you. I like you. I can’t imagine how to define my life, myself, without you. You are comfortable and familiar and I know you will be in my blood and my bones forever. It’s okay. Thanks for battling it out with mania, searching for a balance, and thank you for teaching me how to resist psychic death on the daily. Let’s do this together.

(Still) Depressingly Yours,

P.S.: Photos I’ve taken over the last few days:

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{Click the images to make them bigger.} 1. Fucshia flowers hanging at a convenience store. 2. ‘you are enough’ graffiti on a bridge over traintracks. 3. Ivy growing over broken windows.

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4. Iced soy lattés, Sharpies, purple pencil crayons. 2. Fucshia flowers I brought home with me. 3. My little lavender plant.

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7. A house in a fancy neighbourhood – I’d like to have a writing nook in a turret someday. 2. My ‘protection from envy & harm’ candle. 3. A bouquet from a friend, delivered to one of my Quiet Parties.

P.S.: If you’ve benefited from my writing in any way – if my words have inspired you, helped you feel less alone, or sparked some weird feeling within you; if you’ve felt encouraged, or curious, or comforted – please consider compensating me by offering a donation of any amount. Whether you’ve been reading my writing for years, or just stumbled into me this afternoon, I invite you to help me sustain the process!

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