It’s about Depression

I first met you on the playground of my youth, but I didn’t know what you were. 

Between the swings and sand a promise hung in the air. A promise that we would meet on this makeshift battlefield every day of our lives. That first time you challenged me I went in ignorant of what you would take from me if I lost. I fought you with everything I had, and it wasn’t enough. You took the shambles of what remained. 

There you were, everyday, waiting for me on that playground. It didn’t matter what door I left; the playground was always there. I could hide for a time, but you were always there, peeking through the windows waiting for me to give in and begin the challenge again. No matter where I went, or how far I moved, the playground was always between me and the world. And there you were, waiting for me. I’m here, you said. I’m here to stay.

We warred, you and I, over unmarked territory. Where did the boundaries between you and I end and begin? I could draw a line in the sand but it meant little to you. You would take it all.

I looked in the mirror but every blow you had laid against me was invisible, every bruise, every drop of shed blood gone. No one would believe what we had done, no one would see what I had been through to believe that it was real. The wounds and hurt were silent, secret, and hidden.  
I hated you. I hated that you took what wasn’t yours. I hated that you took what I barely knew I had. You were my enemy, my rival, my foil. You were between me and everything I wanted. My passion, my drive, my goals, my life. To get to them, I had to go through you. 

I found weapons in the form of words. I know the sharpness of words and it was the only thing that seemed to have an effect. Sometimes the effect was good, but most of the time it was bad. All I needed was something, anything to change and those words like swords and daggers were double edged entendres.     
What I failed to realize was that you were not some alien invader hiding in the shadows. I fought you, not knowing that every strike against you was a strike against me. Because you were not some other. You were me. You were my shadow. You were all the things I pushed aside, my fear, my guilt, my sadness, my hate, my self-loathing, my suffering. You were all those things and more. 
Nature, for all its beauty and elegance, is occasionally unintentionally cruel. You and I were drawn from the cosmic waters to be opposed. Opposed as one is when looking in the mirror. In the reflection of you I see all my faults laid bare. I see all my insecurities like gaping wounds on skin. I can fear it, the jagged edges, or I can find the edges to learn them like a new language. I can fear and hide in a darkened room but night cannot exist without the day and where you are darkness I am light. I can I can fear the reality of my existence or I can face it and embrace it. 

I had to realize that to help myself, I had to help you. You were not there because you wanted to be, because you wanted to fight, but because you needed what I had more. You were there because you had to be. In order to save me I had to save you. I had to draw you into an embrace and by loving you, I was loving me. I had to give you space to breathe, erase the line in the sand myself, and take your hand. 

Now, instead of a fight, we circle each other in a dance. Precarious at times, uneven, shaky, full of false starts and missteps. I meet you every day on the road through life, but now instead of the challenge of a battle, it’s the challenge of balance and love.     


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