depression/ celebration


won’t you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay,
my one hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.

– Lucille Clifton

Image- A picture of me from 2013 or 2014, depressed.  My depression was triggered by a personal tragedy that brought the person I love most to his knees. To watch your beloved struggle is not unlike watching them die- the horror is as intense, you’re watching them lose large chunks of themselves to pain by the hour, whittled ultimately to ghosts. You’re terrified they won’t recover. Grief churns in your belly like poison, slowing you down. You wait and watch. Watch and wait. You too become a shadow- light and insubstantial. You read everything- jam bottle labels, old airport magazines, circulars from your building co-op- to keep yourself tethered in the moment, to not cut loose and float above your reality in a sickening separation of body and mind. Friends and family don’t get it. You close yourself off to them, shooting off missives into the ether in the form of poems on Facebook. Your poems are pleas for help, but no one catches on. People respond with kindness- ‘What clever lines!’- but it’s not the sort of kindness you’re looking for. The fact that you can smile, laugh, make jokes and whip up comically large batches of spaghetti makes it harder to tell people you’re dying inside. You begin to hate yourself for betraying you, curse your exterior for not matching your interior. Your alienation from yourself is complete. You are now two separate people: one pleasant, sociable, life of the party, the other grieving, lonely, jam bottle label-reading. Every day, you pray for wholeness, cohesion. But it never comes. It never comes. What makes this worse? Your beloved going through the exact same thing. You are two stricken shadows. You can not comfort the other because shadows have no substance.

If you’ve survived depression, are struggling with it or suspect someone you love is, read up extensively about the condition. And never forget to celebrate that everyday, something has tried to kill you or the person you love, and failed. 

3 thoughts on “depression/ celebration

  1. Hi Rohina,

    I was always looking for ways to thank-you infact actually admire you for the kind of person you are.

    I just don’t admire you for just these few words about depression but you hold a very special respect in my heart for being a very good human.

    I don’t know whether you remember the incidence when I had an accident some time back in 2000 struggling hard to appear for my board exams and to fulfil my dreams since I suffered from multiple arteries injury.

    I literally left all my hopes, and was at the edge of depression. I was very good in handicrafts and drawings and i used to be occupied with my friends since most of the times I was struggling to complete their drawing exams for them.

    I used to think that I was the happiest person on this earth and suddenly my life changed drastically after this mishappening.

    The immense pain was not because of the physical injuries but it was because of the people, my friends whom I was seeing leaving me behind.

    I somehow satisfied myself that life is all about this and so must not expect others and should move on.

    But, it was you who helped me built my confidence. It was you who made me feel important. And the most valuable gift of my life was your self made beautifully expressed card with the caption “The bravest girl I met”.

    And these words changed my life. I learnt never to give up and today I am known for my never dying attitude.

    Today I am a very strong person. No matter whatever the circumstances are, how worst the people may do to me but I never hate them or disregards them. I strongly feel that the biggest gift you can give to others is to Be Happy because you never know how many wounds they must be already carrying in their hearts and one should never become the reason to add on more wounds.

    Just wanted to say..You are very special..and I am always thankful to you. I have much more to say but I am very bad with my expressions.


  2. Dear Anchal,

    Wow. I had no idea. Of course I remember your accident. You were incredibly brave about it. Since you were a naturally quiet person, you never let your despair show. I remember thinking how amazing your resilience was, and how maturely you handled a situation that would’ve brought the most solid adult to a wreck.

    Thank you for writing to me. I spent all these years believing that I was unpopular, even hated at school for being a bossy, type A nerd. With your comment here, you’ve changed all that. I have no words to express my thanks. Will write a separate note to you on Facebook.

    All my love,

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