20/04/2016 11:31 BST | Updated 20/04/2017 06:12 BST

A letter to Depression

Dear Depression,

It's been quite a ride hasn't it? Can you believe it has been eight years since I properly encountered you? I think you have always been present in my life, lurking in the shadows, keeping out of sight. Were you simply waiting for the right time to introduce yourself or did I force your hand? Do you remember the first time? Of course you do - we share these moments like lovers entwined, dancing the depression dance. As we ritualistically glide across the dance floor of life, sometimes it is you taking the lead and sometimes I manage to lead the dance in a new rhythm. As you know, my dancing is pretty poor at times; that's when you really become flamboyant.

That's the thing, depression, you're such a damned good dancer, you seduce me and before I know what's happening I am hypnotised by you. There are days where I see you for what you are, an intrusive presence that stalks my mind like a panther. I feel you padding and prowling ready to pounce at my vulnerabilities, saliva dripping from your fangs. I thought about someone the other day and just a flash of their name caused your ears to prick and your growl to stir. You twisted that knot in my stomach and produced that lump in my throat. You tried to change the tempo of our dance and make me spin into the dark part of our life's stage.

There's so much of me that wants to be lead by you and let you always take the lead. Hell, that's why I self harmed and tried to wipe my presence off the face of this planet. The faceless, eternally black abyss felt more appealing than another day trying so, so hard to exist. You made me so tired and utterly exhausted with life. Like a seductive siren, you would sing a melancholy melody and I would be transfixed by its tune. The content of your song would always be the same too, you know you're a failure; you know you're a fraud; you know people only tolerate you because they feel bad to cut you out; you know you will never be able to maintain a relationship because you're broken. See, depression, those words still sting and my eyes are wet as I write this. You have so much damn power. Why can't I ever be completely rid of you?

Depression, I despise you. Over the past eight years you have ravaged my mind and, on occasions, left me in tatters. Look at my body, look at what you have achieved. In your mighty, magnificent magnitude you caused me to burn and bleed in loathing of who I am. In your potency you left me as a ghost of a human, gliding through each day, numb to those I loved and to myself. In spite of this though, I still (still!) am drawn to you. For some reason I occasionally desire your presence like a lover. You have become as much a part of me as I a part of you. It's as if we will always dance this infernal dance.

Maybe that's my cross to bear though? Maybe you are meant to be part of my life because if I have to suffer you, at least I can expose your lies and comfort others who are suffering. Depression, you are a prince of lies, laced with lust. I may be drawn in to your presence at times, but I know you for who you are. Because I know you, I can tell others about you. I can tell others that they don't have to believe your deceit. I may not ever be rid of you but I will be a loud ambassador to expose you and help others lift their faces from the dirt and toward something more hopeful. You are the ambassador for silence and shame. I will be an advocate for hope, healing and wholeness.


Tom Haward.