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"If you're depressed, just take a pill and get over it."

My brother and I glance at each other in horror. "Mom," he says, "That's not how that works."

"I know," she says, looking a little guilty. "But that's not how I was raised."

A feeble excuse, I think, but I have neither courage nor heart to say so. I remember what happened last spring, when I tried to bring up the fact that I was not okay. She dismissed it, saying I could have it worse. Maybe true, but that's the last thing I needed to hear while in the middle of a breakdown.

My brother and I exchange another glance, knowing it's better to keep quiet. We don't like it, but we don't like getting yelled at, either.

.

"I'm not saying I'm depressed," I tell my counselor, "Just..."

He thinks he understands and maybe he does. "No, I know, we're not assigning labels here."

That hurts, but I don't know why. Still, I let it lie. I'm only here to learn how to feel again, to stop the overwhelming sadness. I don't need a label, just solutions.

.

I tell my boyfriend that me and my family aren't going to my aunt's and uncle's for Thanksgiving after all, making light conversation.

"How come?"

"My uncle's depressed."

His eyebrows rise, and this is a look I'm used to, though it's usually saved for when I'm messing with him. "Isn't being alone the opposite of what you're supposed to do?"

"Yes," I say. "But that's not how my family works."

My uncle is my mom's brother. The similarities are few and far between, but when it comes to dealing with feelings, well.

I change the topic and he lets me.

The similarities between me and my mom are also few and far between, and I wonder if she feels as guilty about ignoring my uncle as I do.

.

The counselor gives me solutions and I mostly listen.

I get out of the house when I feel the sadness settling in—I won't be able to drive until August and it's May now, but there's a park and bike trail a minute from my house. Without AC, it's cooler outside than inside sometimes. The bugs drive me insane but I think it's better than the dread.

I drink less caffeine and mention when I'm feeling low to my boyfriend (the only person, outside of my best friend, I bring this whole mess to).

The sadness does not vanish, but it dimmers and I can only pretend to be happy about that.

.

I don't stop using the solutions—the exercise, the drinking of less caffeine. I simply use them less and less as time goes on. The sadness grows and I tell myself I'm not content with this. After all, isn't emptiness better than sadness? Than dread and anxiety and all other bits of negativity? Is this silence better than the constant drone of i hate you i hate you i hate you to myself?

I tell myself it is, but I'm never convinced. After all, what else is going to convince me that I still breathe?

.

Waking up to my alarm and the fog in my head settles before I'm even aware of my surroundings. This has been going on for months, now, and I wonder if I should go see a counselor again. A new one, if not the one I had before.

When it gets worse, I decide, and pretend I actually mean it.

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In the interest of getting back into writing I'm going to try this out.

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to be good again
lealila
a tale told three thousand years ago

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now Cinderella don't you go to sleep
it's such a bitter form of refuge
ah don't you know the kingdoms under siege
and everybody needs you
is there still magic in the midnight sun
or did you leave it back in '61
in the cadence of a young man's eyes
out where the dreams all hide

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