Open Letter

Stories on Depression: An Open Letter To You For When You’re Sad or Depressed

Hello, you look like you could use some help figuring some things out. Surely you must, or you wouldn’t have been so compelled to click. So, let me start out by saying I’m glad you came here. No, really. I’m happy you would choose this lonely blogpost of all other lonely blogs, books or WebMDs out there. You want to know why? Because you mean the world to me. I mean that. It sounds silly, right? Like it couldn’t possibly be true! … yet it is. Because without you, the world as I, and they, and we know it, would cease to exist. You’re that powerful. You may not know it yet.

I’ll bet you’ve spent a good chunk of time beating your self up. I can appreciate that. Perhaps staring off into the far nether-reaches of the corner of your wall, motionless, wordless, aimless. Perhaps you’re so paralyzed by rumination and ruination that it takes you 15 minutes to decide if you’re going to take your shoes off and forego a run to the mall tonight. And then another 45 minutes of staring and contemplating, and suddenly it’s too late to cook a sensible supper, and that choice has been made for you. Lord knows, I have been exactly there, too.

I’ll bet you’ve got mail piling up inside your mailbox because it seems too daunting to confront the outside world right now. That mailbox: just a container of expectations placed upon you by others, expectations you just can’t be bothered with living up to right now. You’re tired. You’re not right. You’re not feeling it today. I feel that. I feel you.

Maybe you’ve been letting yourself go. Bit-by-bit, piece-by-piece, pound-by-pound.

Possibly, you’re losing hope at work. You’re getting older and wondering if you’ve risen professionally. You were just passed over for that promotion in favor of that dude who shows up 20 minutes late every day, who spends his entire afternoons reading Campus Bee and watching sports highlights from lunch until 5. Maybe you just lost your job. Maybe there isn’t enough Guiness and ice cream in the world that will dull that pain. I understand.

And what if you’re lonely? All your friends moving on with their newfound loves, all their brides and grooms and babies and playdates and kids and graduations and and you just watch the highlights from your perch in front of a 17″ laptop screen or your smartphone, tuned in to every one of their happy life-affirming status updates expressing “gratitude” and “mindfulness” and hashtag-blessed and living-my-best-life. Maybe you silently boil with a tiny bit of envy, which later gives way to sadness. “What I wouldn’t give to live in Muyenga,” you think to yourself. “It’s cool here. It’s pretty cool right now.” Let me warm you.

A lot of people will tell you they’ve found the keys to happiness and/or success. A lot of people on this site in particular. And it’s really simple, and they give you a list of 10 things you need to do. But I know you. You’re depressed. You’re sad. You’re paralyzed. All that is a homework assignment — a daunting recipe for failure — and failure is the last thing your body needs right now. More unnecessary expectations unmet. You don’t want that. And I won’t ask you for it.

I’m asking you to do one thing. One thing only. One thing as often as you can, as much as you can, for as long as you can. One thing, one word, one action that could change your life and harness the infinite power that you hold inside you to change that which is slowly killing you. One thing that could create for you a world which you’ve never dreamed, and will provide the start point for all other endeavors upon which this great life has the potential to carry you toward. I’m asking you to move. And that’s it.

I don’t mean move, like sell all your belongings and hop into a Toyota Raum and drive restart your life halfway across the country. I certainly don’t mean that. (I’ve done that, too.) I mean move. Get up. Go right now, before you can think too hard about it. (Well, finish reading this, first, and then go right now.)

I want you to go someplace. I don’t care where. Go outside. Go for a run. Call a friend. Go for a bike ride. Grab a car and go exploring as far as your mind will fathom and as far as time will allow … and then I want you to keep going. I want you to run farther than you think you’re capable of. I want you to go to a smooth live band alone and just sit there and let the waves of trumpet and bass overwhelm you. I want you to want to do this, because this is it. This is the entirety of our existence and the centerpiece of our lives. Motion. It’s what separates us from inorganic compounds. It’s what separates life from death. Living humans move. Dead humans don’t. And we’re all just trying to feel a little more alive inside.

You must get out of wherever you find yourself stuck and you must halt inertia in its tracks and say, “No, inertia, you won the battle yesterday, but today is not yet over and there is still time for me to emerge victorious!” Inertia won’t fight back. It cannot. Because inertia can only win …. inertia will only win … if you let it. If you don’t stand up for yourself and move and walk out that door right now and say, “Go to hell, inertia, I am going to watch the Liverpool game, and I am bringing a friend.” Or just find a new hangout place. And chill. Get noticed. Wave hello. Strike up a conversation. Don’t want to be alone? Call someone. Don’t want to walk? Drive. Don’t want to drive? Call someone and have them pick you up, Uber, Safeboda, Taxify. Do not, I repeat, do not, let yourself give in to this. Find your future; it won’t come looking for you.

Have you ever seen sadness? What does sadness look like? It looks motionless. Very rarely do you find someone riding a bicycle, running a marathon, or going for a swim, with tears in their eyes. It’s really hard to do.

Here’s a trick. Are you sad right now? Are you ready to break down in tears? Go climb a hill. I mean it. Go climb a hill as fast as you can. Get up that hill, I don’t care how small. I want you to find the highest point you can get to reasonably and I want you to get up there and when you reach that summit, I want you to look out over all humanity and say, “Here I am world! It’s great to be here!” And I want you to see if you still want to cry. I’ll bet you don’t.

Move. Write a letter. Write a thank you. Call your Dad. Call your sister. Call an old friend. Keep moving. Find yourself in a place you never thought you’d arrive. Take a road trip to Mbarara. Or Mbale. Or Gulu. And if none of that’s practical, just go to the mall or market and find some fresh fruits or food and make yourself the goddamn best juice or meal you’ve ever had in your life. And share it. Call someone. Invite them over and tell them, “I made this for you, here, try it.” Everyone loves free homemade juice or cooking.

Get out there, now, while you’re young or young at heart. Stave off the demons that will suck your soul away for just one more day. And then sleep well, knowing you were able to squeeze an extra drop, an extra mile, out of an extra minute of a day that’s not your last. And then do it again tomorrow. You can do it. You can do what moves you. You’ve just gotta move first.

You ready?

Let’s go.

By Annonymous

Every Friday, we share and talk about depression among unemployed young people! Share your story with us via share@hiretheyouth.org

Depression

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