March 2001

My place is of the sun and this place is of the dark
I do feel the romance I do not catch the spark
My place is of the sun and this place is of the dark
Maybe there's no haven in this world for tender age
My heart beat like the wings of wild birds in a cage
My greatest hope my greatest cause to grieve
And my heart flew from its cage and it bled upon my sleeve
-Emily Saliers

The Darkest Pit On Earth

In the human mind, there is the aptitude for great joy. There is also the ability to be lost in our own thoughts, consumed by our own darkness.

Pain. Misery. Self-hate. Utter and complete sadness. Anger.

That is what defines my life right now. I'm not stuck in a horrible life, either. I have wonderful friends, both here at college and at home. I have a very supportive family (well... the family that matters to me). I'm a semester and a bit into what could turn out to be a great college career. I should have everything going for me, and be skipping around campus like a frigging kangaroo.

I'm not. I have depression. Yay me. I've had it for as long as I can honestly remember. Well, not really. Kindergarten was a good year. Loved kindergarten. It was all downhill from there though, once we stopped with the finger painting and playtime. Most folks don't go around talking about depression. We're supposed to snap out of it, or just disregard the fact that we hate ourselves. Errr... maybe I shouldn't use generalizations... depression is different for everyone.

So... something most people don't know, really. I've been in therapy for about two years (as of April, that is). It helped me a lot, especially as I grappled with my orientation and found yet another reason why I wasn't good enough. But it didn't change the underlying problems.

Right now, lying next to my keyboard, is my newest medication, which I'll start taking tomorrow morning. It's Prozac. I'm going to assume you've heard of it. For the chemistry folks, fluxetine hydrochloride. It's an anti-depressant. To me, it's finally admitting that I have depression, really, truly, and that the only way I can get honest-to-gosh better is through medication. Messing with my brain chemistry, setting it right. Making sure my seratonin levels are balanced. Whatever.

I'm scared. Scared that it won't work, scared that it will. Depression has been in my life for so long that I don't know how I will be when it's gone. And yet I know I can't go through my life with this insanely persistent sadness in me.

Depression is not something to laugh at, or assume that people can snap out of. At one point I was particularly depressed and really into Elton John music at the same time. I damn well scared the shit out of my parents by singing along frequently to his song, "I Think I'm Gonna Kill Myself" really really loudly. I tried for years, just willing myself to feel better, and it never worked. I've been really mean to my friends, when I was furious at myself. I've disappointed my favorite teachers, because I've not seen the point to trying. Very simply, I'm tired of this struggle with myself. I'm tired of being sad, of being angry with myself, of feeling a deep disgust and hate for the person that is me. So I am doing something to change it.

We don't talk about depression a lot in this society. There are dozens of ads out there for Prozac, Paxil, and other antidepressants, but we still joke about them instead of considering the pain that those who are depressed go through. I'm struggling to pull myself out of this godforsaken pit I find myself trapped in. I want to see the sky, to laugh and really, really smile. I am tired of this darkness.

My place is of the sun and this place is of the dark


Bethany Kimball is an 18 year old freshman at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She can be contacted at k41632@yahoo.com and very much enjoys email.

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