Tonight, I’m sitting here alone. I’m listening to music with Bluetooth headphones on listening to an ambient music track of a Japanese temple in the middle of winter. I’m sitting here thinking why I would like to write an open letter to my depression. Truth be told, it was a spur-of-the-moment thing. And I’m not sure what I should write. Of course, I could blame the medical marijuana I’m on at the present moment. Or I could be even more honest with myself that most of my writing is spur-of-the-moment. As has been with most of my life, plans and outlines fail me most days so I improvise and keep ahold of an image of where I want to be in five to seven years. As it also said, going from one destination to the other doesn’t do us any good if we don’t address where we currently sit.

Depression: where did you come from?

When did you first step into my life? Or are you the kind that hides just outside my view, in the corners, beneath the couch or under my bed? Maybe I’ll never know when you wormed your way into my life, but I must accept you are a mangy beast I fed once thus found yourself now attached.

What I do wish for in this moment is to write this letter to you in hopes that one day you’ll become a shadow of a cell in my brain rather than my entire being. You see, you and I will never get along. We are too toxic for one another as you sometimes took the form of a slow acid drip on my brain, allowing your friends – anxiety and PTSD – to rob me of the air in my lungs.

Damn, I should work out more I thought to myself climbing the stairs to my apartment when in truth you placed the heaviest of weights in my feet, hoping I’d give in.

Once in a while I ponder what your true form is. What do you look like, depression? Are you just as ugly as the monsters both reality and fiction show you as? Are you a descending, thick, black cloud? Or are you very much an inspiration for the tentacled and grotesque monsters in Dungeons & Dragons, my favorite table top RPG?

It is always a roll of the dice with you, isn’t it? Never knowing how much damage can or will be done until it’s too late.

Sometimes you won.

And sometimes, I asked myself whether I should ever forgive you for winning the war against my brother, whose two children and wife he left behind in your wake.

But you know as well as I do that, in reality, we can’t pick up a new piece of paper where we can create new characters from and start again; if it were ever only that simple. Unless you were a necromancer, but that’s an entirely different story and situation.

I’ll admit, you did give me a sense of humor about life with you, though. Is that why you took one of our favorite actors in the entire world from us? That’s another thing with you: forcing some of us to hide our shame of you behind a mask, behind the laughter. That same mask comes off when you’ve won as if to say “It was me all along. My count only grows.”

I remember one day when I was twenty-two years old, you fell over me in an incredibly weighted and the blackest blanket you could find. Your modus operandi: swallowing me up in worthlessness. You took my vice and created a monster, leaving my wife at the time to come home from work to find me on the couch, unconscious. At the time, we had kept it to ourselves, especially as I slowly returned to reality in our bed, her on the phone with my best friend at the time giving him an update on my condition. But you were also there at my side when I contemplated the rifle that I sold later putting it into my mouth. You are very much the cause of the darkest of my thoughts.

Is that how a children’s book writer should talk? Should I be open about my mental health? Well, I can’t call myself a warrior against your army of darkness, a mental health advocate, if I’m not. Right?

You are unabashedly a force of destruction – a proud, gluttonous despot ruler.

But as if with all tyrannical rulers, just as every beginning has its end, so too shall you end your reign of terror.

Oh, how I could naively wish for you to be destroyed, to leave, never to return again to anyone’s body or mind. Maybe one day you will. Because I’ve spent long enough in your darkness to no longer be afraid of what and who you are. I’ve spent long enough down in your deep well of sadness to know by looking upwards…

…the light will always return.