If hope is a thing with feathers*, depression is a thing with tentacles. Depression is sneaky. It creeps up behind you and taps you on the shoulder. And when you jump and turn around, it’s gone. “Whew,” you think, “Close one!” But what you don’t realize is that when you turned to the right to look for it, it didn’t actually disappear – it just moved to the left. And when you turned to the left, it moved right. It was behind you the whole time. Pretty soon, it taps you on the shoulder again. And again. And pretty soon, both shoulders. See, depression is like an octopus –with more tentacles than you have arms. So as you are brushing one off your shoulder, it’s got another on your arm. So you brush that one off, too. But before you’re through, it has one around your calf and another around your waist. And while you’re thinking about those, there are two more back on your shoulders. And not long after that, it has you by the neck and pulls you in until you are too tired to fight. Or at least too tired to fight it off completely. You may pull away from some of those tentacles, but there always seems to be one that has you by the wrist or ankle.
Depression is a liar. It tells you that you are just being a baby. Depression tells you that you don’t have friends. That you aren’t worthy. That no one wants to hear about your feelings. Depression tells you that you are wrong about everything. It makes you believe the worst about yourself. Depression tells you that you are hopeless, and then it feeds on your hopelessness. Depression grows strong as you grow weaker. Depression is an asshole. Depression is a thing with tentacles.
By Emily Dickinson
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune–without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.