(Artwork by me, watercolor and ink)
Depression was, in his heart, a liar.
He was the best liar. He could take a mustard seed of truth, and plant it deep in cemetery dirt. He neither fed or allowed the sun to shine on the newly planted seed, and yet it grew. A gnarled twisted vine slithered through my house. It was a vine of lies that wrapped around my mind and told whispered into my ear. Its tongue was wet and cold, licking into my mind.
I haven’t been able to find employment, so the lie told me I was worthless and unemployable. The lie fed into my brain and planted new seeds. It told me to isolate myself, keep things like my darker thoughts from my wife. Depression was insidious and knew where to plant the seeds, in places where they would best thrive.
Depression had kept me from updating my blog. Depression wove vines all over the house. They looped around my ankles, wove through my chest, and wriggled into my heart. The ropes of black, sticky tar made me feel numb.
“You’re very clever,” I said. I felt weighted down, laying in my bed. It was night. Depression sometimes made it hard to sleep, while simultaneously making sleep all I wanted to do. “You know how to get around my rationalizing. You make the nasty things sound more logical than the logical things.”
Depression didn’t smile, but I could still tell he was grinning.
“Sometimes you win,” I noted dryly. Depression sat at the edge of the bed. He didn’t weigh anything, so my comforter wasn’t sinking in under his body. He was just a huge dark shape, a shadow. His shoulders were sharp and his head seemed vaguely misshapen. He had no facial features, just indents where his eyes and mouth should be. His hands were very long, and rested on his knees.
“I’ve been winning,” he answered somewhat proudly. “and I’ll never let you go.” He leaned in a little closer to me, his features hanging over my head like a death shroud. I had woken in the mornings with him watching me, looming over my face before. It was always unsettling when he watched me sleep. He never rested, a bleak sentinel of darkness lurking in the night. “because what can you do about it.”
“I get tired of you sucking the joy out of my life,” I said quietly. “What little joy I have.”
Depression said nothing. I could almost make out the thin, small line that was his mouth in the morphing, undulating darkness that was his head.
“I am never satisfied,” he answered finally. His tone was flat, stating this fact. Then, I glanced down at his hand. I could see him tighten his fingers into a fist. He was holding onto something.
I sat up to see what it was. There were chains, thousands of black vines gripped in his fist. It was as if he were walking a dozen dogs on leashes. Except, these were the vines that he had grown, held together like a puppet master with the strings of marionettes. He controlled them all, looped around me and binding me tightly. The vines were all around the house, staining everything a licorice black. He seemed to smile, except he never smiled.
The house was covered in chains, gripping and holding, locking us inside his prison. A tangled spider web of his confused design. There was no beauty, no architecture to his madness. Depression simply wanted it all held together under his control. He held the reigns and squeezed. I could feel the pull in my heart under the icy grip of his fist.
The vines needed to be cut. I needed to escape his binds. Though for now, I was wrapped in a cocoon of his silky threads. He squeezed again, and I felt the cords cut into my heart, bleeding under the rope burns under his harsh grip.