Skeletons

When I was a little girl, someone looked me in the eyes and told me depression wasn’t real.

That we are as happy as we make up our minds to be

And as wide as our Cheshire cat grins stretched from ear to ear.

When I was a little girl, I believed that sadness was something you could choose, like the clothes you picked to put on every morning; as if you could pick an expression from a pile and plaster it on like a facade

And if you tried hard enough, you could wear happiness and positivity permanently.

When I was a little girl, I woke up to a beautiful day suffused with bright sunshine and the sound of singing birds and wished for clouds to loom over the horizon and darken the sky.

Whenever I closed my eyes I saw demons and the skeletons that hid in the back of my thoughts rattled their bones to the rapid rhythm of my heartbeat

And they haunted my waking moments too.

I walked alone along a path cast in shadows with no light to guide me

Felt my heart beating a violent tattoo against my chest, threatening to break through the thin cage that kept it entrapped

And felt hope rise in my soul, only to fall cold and lifeless to the ground like a bird with its wings ensnared by tendrils of fear and pain

When I was a little girl, I believed that the way I felt was the way everyone felt.

That when I opened my eyes to a brand new day and felt no excitement blossom in the garden of my mind that this was the way it was meant to be

And when I grew older, I learned that the unnamed monster that had hindered my every breath had an identity; a terrifying face that belonged to it

Expressionless and vacant, with glowing eyes and a fearsome voice

I taught myself that depression is indeed real, and that I was never meant to face it alone.”

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