It’s amazing how you can’t recognize someone until they have a name.
She’s followed me for years. Always just out of sight, keeping her distance. I didn’t know her. I couldn’t see her clearly, and so, I kept her away. She hid in the shadows. A long, dark figure – not really a person – just the basic outline of one.
She slithered up beside me on the exam table and hissed in my ear.
I blinked up at my doctor. What did he mean?
“Hiya! Nice to finally meet you,” her snake like tongue flickered out and licked my neck.
I tried to shove her – Depression – away, but now that I knew her, it was harder.
For years, I thought I was seeing things. I thought she was a figure of my imagination. And when I stopped believing that, I looked for other people’s shadowy friends. If I had one, everyone else must too, right?
With my doctor’s diagnosis, I realized this was a problem. Something out of the ordinary – something that not everyone had.
Suddenly everything I had felt – or not felt – was validated. She had a name. She had a look. She had a voice. It was harsh, but intoxicating. I could no longer ignore her calls. I fell into her arms, and studied her face.
She was the shape of me, but stripped down. Where I had lively eyes, she had empty black pits. Where I had a mane of hair, she had a smooth black head. Where I had full lips, she had a thin line, only opening when her long split tongue would dart out.
There was a day when she ran back to the shadows. I was concerned.
“Where’s Depression?” I asked. “Where’d she go? She’s mine now.”
I was confused. I was happy without her, but she was my burden to carry. I didn’t want to call her back, but her name slipped off my lips.
It’s funny how once you know someone’s name, it’s harder to let them go.