*Several knocks at the door, your heart drops, ‘It’s time’ you think to yourself. You turn the knob..*
Greetings old friend. I see you’ve come back again. You’ve found your way back and even came through the same door you used to. People, places, things. That’s what they used to tell me would help keep you away. Exercise, they said would keep you at bay, but alas, here you are. I see you found your same old spot. Look, it still has your outline from where you’ve spent so much time there.
I don’t really know what to say to you other than I thought you’d never come back. I hoped, I prayed, I begged God to never let your shadow darken my doorstep again. I promised that I would stop every bad thing I was doing, drink less alcohol, eat a clean diet, be a better son, be a better friend, take my meds as prescribed, get lots of sunlight, and, yet, you’re still here! But, here you are so we might as well talk. Can I get you a coffee?
*Pours coffee, walks over to the couch, and takes a seat*
You see, when you first walked in, I was initially surprised, but I wasn’t shocked. I wasn’t shocked because I knew you’d be back one day. I knew you would dawn my doorway again, whether I wanted you to or not, because frankly that’s what you do.
You show up, mess things up and as quickly as you can and you leave. You’re a jerk. You know that? I mean, I’ve never really thought about you this way, but my therapist said that you’re an abuser. You show up, convince me that I’m worthless and unlovable. You cunningly suggest that I need you, will never be able to escape your power, and that my life is not worth living. You use me, abuse me, and leave me in a shitty place. You rob me of the joy of living. But..
I’ve been doing some thinking. You see, I know you’re going to show up from time to time. No matter how many times I change the locks, no matter how many times I try to change things about me and wish to myself that this time will be different, I know that you’ll show up. I just do. And, so do you, and frankly, so does my doctor, therapist, and anyone who truly loves me.
*Puts coffee down and stares intently at Depression*
But, you see Depression, we’ve been doing some talking. Those closest to me all agree, and have decidedly convinced me, that just because you show up doesn’t mean you get to own this place and, more importantly, own me.
You see, I have a plan now. I have people to call and say “can we talk?” even if I feel like I can’t utter a word. I have a pen and paper beside my bed to write until I feel like my hand will fall off just to get the junk out. My doctor and therapist have told me to come and see them anytime, not just every 3 or 4 months for a med check. They want me to keep an open dialogue with them. No more hiding.
Oh, and guess what? Remember how you demanded I not go to work every time you came into town. You also wouldn’t let me tell my employer why, remember those threats? Well, that’s over. You’re not going to own me when it comes to work anymore. I’ve banked some sick days, had an honest conversation with my supervisor, and developed a plan for when you visit. I’m going to take some time off or work a limited schedule when you dawn my doorstep. My job will no longer in jeopardy during your little visits.
For years, I’ve let you own me. For years, I’ve let you ravage me, steal my joy, wreck my life, and make me believe that this world would be better off without me.
I think it’s time our relationship changes, Depression. I know you’ll creep up from time to time and I’ve always prided myself on saying I’m a good host, but one thing is going to change the next visit, I’ll be in control. This is my house and I have the final say over what happens in my house!
So while I know we will be doing this dance the rest of my life, I promise you that you will occupy less and less space in my house. I’m setting boundaries and preparing for your passing through. You will no longer run my life. Speaking of, I have a counseling session soon so I must be going.
*Gets up and takes Depression’s cup of coffee*
I’m glad we had this conversation old friend, but I must go so you can kindly show yourself to the door.
*Depression gets up and starts to walk away*
Oh, before you go, I want you to know that next time you get the couch. The bedrooms are only for welcomed guests whose words and influence deserve a place in my mind and heart. Your suggestions of bitterness, hatred, sadness, anger, gloom, and death are no longer welcomed in my mind and heart.
I’ve made new friends whose words can help me unravel the twisted lies of your toxic tongue. I realized that I could no longer let you keep me silent about this abuse. The hell you’ve put me through is over because I’ve opened my heart and mind to receive the support and help that I deserve. You no longer own me. I am in control.
Now, as kindly as I can say this, “Get the hell out of my house!”
Dedicated to my dear friend Chrissy. Thanks for walking with me through one of the darkest times in my life.
Knocking on the door photo available from Shutterstock