An Open Letter To My Depression

An Open Letter To My Depression ©iStock/Tinatin1

For as long as I can remember, you’ve been a part of my life. Even before I was old enough to understand what it meant to be depressed and long before I was diagnosed, you were there. At first you made me think I was crazy, like I was losing my mind, somehow falling apart piece by piece because of the thoughts you put in my head, but when the diagnosis came officially, after that suicide attempt, it all became clear. The anguish I had experienced my entire life made perfect sense. I felt both relieved and even more burdened than I had before.

We’ve had our ups and downs. We’ve dealt with different medications, different therapists, and on some days, you let me breathe freely. However, those days will always be fewer than the ones in wish you suffocate me, as I’ve learned over the years. I don’t blame you, of course. That’s just your thing, and my thing is to conquer you.

But what really pisses me off about you is when I feel like I’m on a roll. I feel like I’m moving forwarding, getting my act together and you just pop up to screw up everything yet again. When you do this, I’m not just back down to zero, but even below that. In fact, I’m standing on negative numbers, trying to keep my balance while reaching to get to at least zero, so I can climb back up to three or four and stop feeling like both the world is closing in on me or that I’m teetering on the edge of reason and insanity.

It kills me when you take over and I have no power to control. Even when I try to talk myself out of a dark place, the place you put me in, I just can’t. I can’t, no matter how hard I try to rationalize it, get up and over the obstacles you create for me sometimes. I realize you’re a mental illness, a disease that I’m forced to deal with and battle for the rest of my life, but it would be awesome if you gave me a break from time to time. You know, maybe forget about me for a more than couple days and find someone else to harass? I think that might be a good idea.

However, I have learned that I can’t shake you. I know that, after trying to live with my antidepressants for even a couple weeks, I am an absolute danger to myself. I have the scars as proof and the tattoos on top of those scars to try to hide the truth.

I’d ask you to go easy on me, but I know you won’t. I’d ask you to go away, but I don’t see that one happening either. I’m stuck with you and you’re stuck with me and neither one of us can break free. All I can do is hope, my depression, that you’ll make an effort to give me more good days and less bad ones. I’ve learned to cope with the bad ones, but that doesn’t mean I’m not totally out of the water. It’s not as the depression I have just rolls off my back like it’s nothing, even on bearable days. It’s something; it’s always something, but you already know that.



Amanda Chatel is a sexual health, mental health, and wellness journalist with more than a decade of experience. Her work has been featured in Shape, Glamour, SELF, Harper's Bazaar, The Atlantic, Forbes, Elle, Mic, Men's Health and Bustle, where she was a lifestyle writer for seven years. In 2019, The League included Amanda in their "15 Inspirational Feminists Every Single Person Should Follow on Twitter" list.

Amanda has a bachelor's degree in English and master's degree in Creative Writing from the University of New Hampshire. She divides her time between NYC, Paris, and Barcelona.

You can follow her on Instagram @la_chatel or on Twitter @angrychatel.