My Hideaway

Foto: Lina SvenskSilvia is an international student from USA. She won Ergo's short story contest 2016 with her story "Come a Little Closer." This is her first column in Ergo.

I realized something was wrong when I couldn’t sleep more than a few fitful hours each night. I realized something was wrong when I wouldn’t get up before noon, missed lectures and seminars, and only ate when the numb ache of hunger appeared in my core. I ignored friends, brushed off family, avoided acquaintances, and stopped doing anything I loved. Life was only an incessant worry, and the flurry of hideous nightmares that visited me nightly. Endless activities and groups with the university failed to entice me – I couldn’t bear the thought of seeing anybody. I couldn’t bear the thought of speaking.
I remember the moment I realized I was alone. Speaking with others, I felt repellent, selfish, uninteresting. I swore I could see concern and disgust in their eyes; it seemed better to shut myself off completely. My body felt like a rusty machine. Ultimately, I was incredibly unkind to myself. Every action was three times harder than it had otherwise been; walking, cooking, getting dressed. I saw this as a personal flaw, a weakness that shook me down several tiers when compared to the worthiness of others. What was wrong with me? Why couldn’t I be effective anymore? What use does the world have for someone like this? In the darkest moments, I thought that maybe there was no place for me.
I couldn’t stand to see my own possessions, mocking me glumly in the darkened room. I gave many of them away. My room became empty. I wondered about all the others in this city who were like me – I wish we had been able to find each other, but it’s hard to find friends in the dark of your room. It’s hard to find friends when you, the real you, is so far hidden inside yourself that you can’t imagine how to start, where to begin again, how to find the person you used to be.

I can accept that I’m alone. I can accept that life isn’t supposed to be easy. But I won’t accept this as a state of permanence. I won’t accept its attempt to eat me alive. No, nobody should do this alone. There is nothing fun about this, nothing blessed. It’s a hell inside yourself, it’s the leviathan of misery which tells you that you’re a bad person, which sucks your energy and distorts your thinking. It’s the fly in the room that you can’t kill.
Someday I will be better. Depression is not an unusual thing to experience, but quite a difficult one to admit. This is difficult for me to admit. Don’t be alone. Talk to me. I want to be there for you. Let’s not be alone. Let’s get better together.