I knew depression as a stranger that lived in a different part of the world, in a secluded area I would only hear about but not go to. I saw and heard depression in blog posts and news headlines, in pages of books I had read. I knew depression the same way I knew the aborigines, in that vaguely strange way I knew bacons and bagels. It only existed in the pages of books I read.
Over time everything changed, depression had moved into my neighborhood. I occasionally pass him on the street. I now see him in the places I go to, I even hear people speak of him around here. Slowly, he drifted towards me and soon he was standing at my front door, knocking to be let in. I tried shooing him away, but he persisted, lounging in the front step of the house. Depression was not like the visitor you introduced to your parents, because they didn’t know he existed, didn’t see him in pages of books like you did.
So when depression finally barged in, encroaching me, I didn’t know how to tell them about this new occupant. Soon he became vivid, no longer the blurred presence that floated around our house. I began not only to feel him, but to hear him speak to me. I felt his cold hands on my body, slowly taking over me.
I realized that maybe depression isn’t really an alien in this part of the world, that maybe he had always existed as a nameless being. Living within and among the people here, from the girl in my school who committed suicide, to the man in my town who had been found hanging limply from a rope tied to the mango tree. It had always been here.