On The Stammering of Depression (and other Bullies)

By David J. Chernobylsky

They knock in tides of anger at your door. You pretend not to notice. The banging continues, each knock hitting you louder in your eardrums. You notice yourself sheepishly checking the peephole to see who it is. You didn’t need to—you’ve known all along the visitors outside wish you only malice and misfortune. You pretend you do not know who they are. Your fingers unlock the door. You hope the abysmal hammering and pounding will then subside upon the intangible vestiges of your psyche.

Instead, they barge right inside like two belligerent bullies, knocking over your neatly placed book stacks and organized cupboards of knowledge. They smash the stacks of organized files you have set up with such overwhelming care. The antique vase carrying the memories of your father comes crashing down upon the floor, each ash a memory of love and loss. You notice the streams of fiery tears forming under your eyes unintentionally but you cannot help but realize the futility of trying to stop the seemingly endless barrage and battery of that which you hold most dear.

The beating ends and the tirade of belligerence and unholy decadence stops. The pair finally finish and slam the door behind them, almost cracking that small eyepiece with which you used to peer at them moments ago.

You look around and see: a destroyed temple, a decayed vestige of what was once an orderly space of safety that prompted your imagination and vast potential for future achievements and successes. Instead, now all you see are the destroyed and solemn confinements of your own lingering fears, remnants of something that could have been but what has now become seemingly too far gone to rebuild from the ground up, too far away to achieve anymore.

You sink to your knees as a dark shadow, another visitor, rises behind you. But this visitor needs no invitation. It is always present, ready to strike you at your weakest; ready to rip you to shreds when you have no weapons to fight with. This evanescent enemy grows at the same rate as you sink to the broken floorboards of your psyche. You dare not too look behind you for you already know what is there. That delicate dark figure always comes to you when you feel that all is lost, when you can no longer fathom the pain and torture.

You gaze down at that same desk that once held your spirit and fancy, your awards and accolades, your hard work and happy memories. Now all you see are the racked drawers and hinges spinning from the recent onslaught. The contents inside are seeping to the floor. All those great achievements you have collected over all those many years or so come pouring out like cheap wine that had been made from the stale squishing of putrid, rotting grapes of a famished vineyard.

Your eyelids begin to droop from having come so far yet having not gone far enough, the darkness of that outgrowth behind you beginning to mask the entire room in its own shadow. Your eyelids almost close to a final degree but you are stopped. A crash is heard. Your window has been broken. A small sliver of light now shines upon you. At your feet, you see a rock with a note attached. You rip off the note, completely unaware that the fear behind you has stopped growing.

You rip it open, angrily. You just want to be left in peace, to rest for all eternity and be lost to the darkness. Your ravaging curiosity does not let you. You read the words. You scratch your head. You read it again. It says “Wait for it.” Did I miss something? You ponder more.

You do not realize that the darkness has subsided behind you. It has been shrinking ever-so-slowly. Soon it will once again be no more.

Your curiosity and deepness of thought compel you to get up one crackling move at a time. Once up, you force your way to the window where a crack from the thrown rock is still clearly evident. You want to know who threw the note and why.

Peering out the window, you see outside a pair of smiling faces and waving hands. They are not alone. They have brought everyone, every good memory and experience you have ever had in your life. They knew to bring them, to give you the strength you needed in your time of desperation and despair. You wave to them and invite them inside. Your friends come into the room, picking up the broken pieces lying around and grabbing cleaning tools and mops and brooms, ready to help you fix any shelves that need mending, any desks that need restructuring. As more and more of your friends come around, you catch them slipping tiny bits of golden confidence into the various drawers of desks and cabinets.

They smile to you and sit you back into your table, having cleaned the bulk of the room and reorganized what had been destroyed. And then when all has been cleaned and order restored, they, one by one, clasp you around your shoulders for a moment or pat you on the back, and then bid you their goodbyes.

When everyone has left you notice yourself sitting back at your old desk, everything as it was before, all clean and orderly and ready for new strides and leaps and bounds in your endeavors. You breathe a sigh of relief and instinctively get to work as you had before, as if nothing had happened, as if no destruction and demolition of your mind had taken place.

But a change had happened, nonetheless, and even though it is unbeknownst to you as you work at your desk, there is a growing shimmering light behind you. It shines brightly upon you as you work and toil and fight onward to achieve new gains and keep moving forward in the aspirations of your deepest and uttermost desires with which you hope to ignite the world around you and leave it better off than when you found it.

This piece is meant for anyone who finds themselves in the thralls of crushing feelings of fear, brought on by the constant daily onslaught of anxiety and stress we experience in our time today.

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