A Conversation

( a poem by John Roedel: God, I love this dude.)

“Why haven’t you quit yet?” My Depression asked me as I sat fully clothed in my empty bathtub.
I didn’t answer.
Instead I just stared at the janky image of myself that was being reflected back to me from the porcelain of the tub.
My Depression knelt down beside me and ran it’s thin fingers through my hair.
“Why are you resisting me?” It asked with a bit of a hiss. “I’m just here to help you feel safe.”
I shook my head ever so slightly.
Subtle gestures like this were how the two of us usually communicate with each other.
However, today my Depression was being a bit more overt. Today it was motivated to destroy me. It smelled blood in the water. My Depression could see the weakness in my eyes. It knew it has a chance. If it tried hard enough – Depression thought it could finally bury me today.
With it’s icy breath blowing in my ear Depression spoke again with a sing-songy voice:
“It’s okay, my sweets. You’ve already made it so much farther than anybody would have ever expected. You’ve endured so much suffering. It’s okay to give up. Just for today try giving up. You’ll feel so much better. The pain will go away. The lava in your veins will cool. The knife in your stomach will stop being twisted. The rat chewing through your heart will fall asleep. If you just give surrender you will stop feeling these holes being put in you. If you just lay with me for a bit you’ll go numb. Imagine how wonderful that will be? To just be cauterized to it all? Don’t you want to be done with this world? Dont you want to become an empty page? Don’t you want to be safe from people who do nothing but hurt you. I can give you all of that. Stop resisting me and everything will be okay.”
I shook my head again – this time a bit more forcefully. I curled up my legs tighter up against my body. I felt like a turtle hiding inside if it’s shell.
My Depression’s long pencil-like fingers stopped moving through my hair. It pressed it’s face up against mine. I could feel the worms move under it’s clammy cheek.
“Don’t you want to know the peace that comes from giving up?” My Depression asked me.
I broke my silence.
“Numbness and peace aren’t the same thing,” I replied.
With that my Depression’s tone with me quickly changed. I could feel it grip my hair and try to pull it out from my roots.
“Listen to me you little failure.,” it wheezed. “You are nothing. You are broken. You are sick. You are only a disappointment to people. There is nothing you can do to get away from me. I will own you someday. You can’t stop me. This is a battle you that you will never win. You will never be rid of me. You are stuck with me!”
As a fat daddy tear grooved it’s way down the bridge of my nose and I said with a trembling voice:
“I’m stuck with you?”
Depression lips formed a frown that nearly touched the bathroom floor.
“Yes…” it said.
“If that’s the case then maybe we should go get some tacos…I’m starving.”
My Depression let go of my scalp and slumped down on the floor next to me and sighed loudly.
After a few minutes of silence between us it spoke again.
“Chicken tacos?” Depression asked.
“Sure,” I said as I stood up. “I know how you love them.”
My depression and I went for an awkward lunch together. We didn’t say much to each other but at one point toward the end of our meal it asked me one last question for the day:
“Why won’t you just give up?”
I took a long sip from my straw and I replied with:
“I guess I’m just too curious about what comes next,” I replied.
My Depression nodded ever so slightly.
Subtle gestures like this were how the two of us usually communicate with each other.
~ john roedel (johnroedel.com)
Photo by Gustavo Almeida on Pexels.com

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