For me, depression is an ocean. It’s something I’ve lived with my entire life. It’s always present, it never goes away; it’s always visible but because it’s always there, it’s taken for granted and ignored. The surface may be calm but there is always motion beneath. The waves may be small; undulating motions that appear rhythmic with its muted crashes offering serenity, but for me, those crashes are the sounds of my tears filling my ocean. No one knows how deep my ocean is. I can’t swim in its depths though the pressure of my curiosity often forces me just below its barrier with my eyes open. The horizon is long, but my ocean is wider. I can surf on my ocean, glide over and through it freely and with a grin but it takes patience; patience I don’t always have. It takes skill; skill I sometimes fumble with. It takes vigor and motivation; both of which I sometimes lack the energy to harness. My ocean hides many creatures; some are monsters with demon faces that are too horrifying for me to acknowledge the existence of, so I keep their known coordinates locked in a safe. Some creatures are so common it’s easy for me to smile and tell everyone not to worry because we’ve all seen that at the aquarium. Sometimes a monster breaks through the surface of my ocean, disrupting those around me, making them wary of my presence. Sometimes we can all laugh at the awkward rings left in my ocean by the temporary disturbance; but most often I calmly escort them out then return to my ocean and cry over the revelation of the monsters I keep there. Sometimes my waves rise out of my ocean with grace so majestic I can only sit on my board of apathy and watch in awe as its glass-like skin opens into a welcoming gate. These waves scare me the most. Their beauty, their glory, and their power are awesomely wild and full of possibility. But the crash always brings a betrayal so reckless I am knocked into my ocean and forced to tread my troubles to stay afloat. My head is not a buoy; I cannot survive without diligent work, and diligent work requires energy. Energy requires rest and rest requires moments of peace; a peace my ocean does not offer me. While everyone skirts my ocean, toes skipping beyond the reaches of my coming tide, I wait off in the distance, watching the splendor that is the life of my ocean. I cannot swim in its depths but I dangle my feet in it daily regardless of my wants, needs, and responsibilities. I will one day burn beneath the sun of my hopes, suppressed by the moon of my dreams I do not reach for, as I wait for the next wave to coast through. At the resounding crash of every wave that tries to swallow me unsuccessfully, I am robbed of another piece of me and yet I somehow manage to paddle back out as if the sandy shores waiting to provide a path home for me are too golden to be true, too far to be possible, and too wide for me to feel safe without my haunting, hiding, ever-present creatures of pain and misery accompanying me.
Should I fear the day I dive deep beneath the waves or embrace the adventure through the dark abyss that is my mind?