I wake up to the nightmare again. I can still see their faces, and I feel a mix of terror and anger, as though I was still that helpless young boy they took advantage of, and ruined.
Despair and ruination was all I knew. My memories will forever haunt me, but as I come to, I realize that it was all in the past, although telling that to my anger won’t calm me so quickly.
I grew up with rage and fear. None of which was made better by the actions of my loved ones surrounding me, save for my grandma, but then I lost her at the age of 11, so I found myself alone again.
Having dealt with PTSD since then, and no one really knowing what it was until more recently, I had to overcome my demons, or worse could happen. You see, I learned since then that if I were going to survive, I had to fight back. What I didn’t know or figure out until much later was: what am I fighting, and why does it matter that fight this fight?
My subsequent depressions told me something else. They reminded me that I was nothing. That I didn’t matter. That my soul was tainted, and beyond repair. That my fight was a selfish one, because my life was irrelevant. That I might as well do everyone a favor and just exit the world with whatever grace I may still have.
It would take me years, and many times very near suicide, to finally figure out that my depression was right.
Let me explain. I don’t matter. My life is just one among nearly 7 billion others. The earth would not miss me, and the universe cares even less. I’m insignificantly tiny, literally nothing, when considering the grandeur of the wonders that surround us.
But there is something that does matter. What matters is how I choose to perceive the world, and whether or not I choose to better it. What matters is how I treat my fellow human. What matters is everything around me.
Depression, when it creeps its ugly head, is about me. Joy, it turns out, is about everyone and everything that surrounds me. This does not, and cannot, negate depression or its effects, but for me, it gives me perspective as long as I can remind myself of these things. And if my words can give support or hope to those who have been where I have, then it was all worth it, and I would face my demons again…just to see you smile one more time.
Thanks for reading,