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Imagine you are sitting on the porch, feet balanced on some empty boxes, elbows propped on the chair’s armrests, hands pressed together just under your chin. It’s dark and there’s a cool breeze causing wisps of hair to dance around your face.

You leave the porch light off, letting the darkness embrace you. This way no one can see or hear you and you almost become part of the darkness yourself. Almost.

Tears stream silently down your face, creating pools around your collar bones, dripping rhythmically off the tip of your nose. You don’t really know why they are falling, I mean you do but, at the same time, you don’t. You know it’s foolish to be crying, again. But you can’t stop yourself for the life of you.

A box of tissues sits on the ground beside you but there’s really no use for it because as soon as you dry the tears and wipe the snot, more come. So you let it all run down your face, down your body.

You have no idea what time it is or how long you’ve been sitting here. The street lights blur together with the shadowy tree branches and your thoughts with them. If only to melt away…

This is what it feels like sometimes. There are days I spend lots of time sitting and crying or walking and crying, stopping only to lay down on my bed or in the cool grass and let the tears run down my temples and pool in my ears. I shame myself, knowing it’s foolish to feel the way I’m feeling but, at the same time, feeling like I have no control over it.

“Maybe I’m not really depressed,” I tell my sister over the phone. “Maybe I’m just really bad at managing my emotions.”

“You know that’s just the depression talking,” she tells me gently.

“Yes,” I say, “I know.” But I still have doubts. Maybe it IS all in my head, the prospect of which terrifies me even more than having depression itself. At least with depression I have something to blame it on, It’s just faulty wiring, not a cacophony of character flaws.

A few weeks ago, while in an especially low spell, I wrote an email to my parents and sisters, trying my best to explain what I’ve been experiencing. The last few lines read:

“I’m not looking for anything profound or hopeful from you. Just wanting to let you know I am here and trying, even if it seems like I’m not. I’m trying to try, really I am. Hope is harder than you know.”

Trying to try. Trying to hope. It’s a daily practice, one I’m coming at from different angles: reaching out to therapists and friends, journaling, posting sticky notes on my mirror that say things like, Life is never as serious as our minds make it out to be and You are strong, confident, capable, and worthy, and jotting down things I’m grateful for on scraps of paper and putting them in a bowl so I can revisit them.

Are these things trivial? Perhaps. Are they helpful? I think so. I hope so.

I like to imagine that one day soon I’ll be sitting on that porch again, feet balanced on some empty boxes, elbows propped on the chair’s armrests, hands pressed together just under my chin. It’s dark and a cool breeze causes wisps of hair to dance around my face. Thoughts flutter in and flutter out, nothing too serious, nothing too heavy. Just thoughts. I close my eyes and let a smile play on my lips for no other reason than it wants to. No tears today, no tears today.