I was depressed once. I saw the world around me continue to turn on its axis following the rotational pattern of the changing seasons, but I was at a stand still. I gradually began to feel the walls of pit grow taller and taller around me, eventually entrapping the love and positivity I once felt into darkness.
I lived numb for almost two years. No matter how much my mother pleaded with me or encouraged me to move on the spell couldn't be broken. It felt like my body was possessed. I functioned without a spirit propelling me forward. It was like being trapped within my own body. I couldn’t feel guilt, shame, love, joy. I just felt cold. It was the middle of August and I remember wearing jeans and a long knight sweater.
My depression was triggered by a combination of factors and experiences. I was living alone in Williamsburg Brooklyn. It was the first time I had ever lived alone, without a roommate. I was working at a company that I assumed could be the start of my dream career path. However, the company was volatile and ousted its employees every few weeks. I was fearful of being fired or losing what little respect I had earned from other employees as their admin. Not only was I miserable in my day - to -day responsibilities but I didn’t think I had enough experience to leave the company and look for an alternative job. I would come home and the apartment was silent. None of my friends lived nearby and I couldn’t afford to go out and meet people. I was still learning how to manage my budget living alone. It was hard to connect with my co - workers as they were older and elitist. My biggest disillusionment was feeling like I was a failure and had wasted my family's efforts in putting me through college.
As I write this piece, I can’t but help to get sentimental as I relive those dark moments of my past.
I was vocal about my fears and felt like I needed to let others know about the impending doom that was going to befall on all of us. I know many a times friends and relatives tried to talk me out of the dark pit I had fallen into but it was pointless. I just couldn’t see the light. My mom suggested that I speak to a doctor about my depression but I refused to take medication. I feared I would become an addict. I reasoned myself out of every possible solution and tried to convince others too that I was helpless. I remember walking around thinking if I was gone, would anyone miss me? I asked myself if I had it in me to actually go through with it and end my life.
I just didn’t see any reason to keep going.
Out of fear for my safety, my mother asked me to move back to the suburbs. She knew I was lonely and could use the help financially. I don’t remember how they convinced me, but I ended up finding someone to take over my lease and I left the city. I went from living alone to living with three other people and sharing a bedroom with my brother. It wasn’t easy, but the linens on my inflatable mattress smelled like my mother and her plush blankets soothed me. Home cooked meals began to fill me up and I started getting back to my normal weight.
Since I was working remotely, my mother suggested I make the most of my experience and go back to school for a more stable career path. I enrolled that fall to go back to school for a Masters in Education. Although going back to a familiar setting was comforting at first it made me realize it was a temporary feeling. I would have to re-enter the adult world.
I completed my assignments for the semester half heartedly and decided to go to Mexico to visit my grandparents. I was functional throughout my depression. It helped to keep my mind off the future or the past and focused on small tasks. It was in Mexico that I truly began to heal. My grandmother knew that I wasn’t feeling like myself lately and that I could use a boost of her affection. The same day I arrived at her doorstep she coddled me and started talking about how blessed we were to have each other. She embraced me and gave me so much warmth.
No hay nada que no puedas hacer. Mira qué familia hice yo con estas manos y este corazón. Cuantos higos no he cargado con estos brazos que no se rinden. Tienes mucha madre y mucho padre para que estés tan triste. Te tienes que hacer el ánimo para estar bien. Con que tengas con qué comer y qué visitar o ir al doctor no importa nada mas. Lujos vienen y van, pero lo que importa es la unión de la familia y la salud. No estes tiste mija, para todo hay solucion menos la muerte.
Her words pierced the rubble I laid under for months and began to dismantle my depression. Her words rang through my ears and found their way into my heart. She brought life back to me, slowly I began to feel the sun on my skin and the tart of the agua de Jamaica. Over the course of the next few weeks, I started to take care of myself again, I made an effort to look presentable. Lipstick and mascara became my armor.
My cousins came into town and filled me with laughter. There wasn’t a moment where I felt alone or ashamed of my failures. Instead we celebrated each second of our day together by having fun. The simplicity of the moment and the joy I felt left me breathless. Love ultimately conquered my depression and helped me see the light again. I needed to love myself and forgive myself for the moments I allowed weakness to triumph over me. I’m not sure I would have been able to do that without my family's teachings. I’ll be forever grateful to my family for helping me regain my strength and reminding me where I come from.