After a long day, I recline in my favorite worn-out, tan chair in hopes of recovering from earlier events. My husband goes to bed at his usual time and it strikes me that I am alone. But I’m not. I’m never really alone. Depression is always there, a weight I am stuck dragging around as if it were an anvil attached to my ankle. At night in particular, depression reminds me just how close we are. As the moon creeps into view from my bay window, I feel any semblance of happiness descend with the sun. I have come to find comfort in my pain at times, as it has always been there for me. Familiarity meets me amidst the chaos that is my severely depressed brain. I also find a certain beauty in the depth to which I feel emotions. The nights where I’m kept awake by the invisible searing in my chest however, feel unbearable. What was just a bit of sadness throughout the day morphs into an ocean of despair and I lie awake, fearing if I let my eyes close I’ll drown. Thoughts barrage me, reminding me of all my perceived short comings, every mistake, anything depression can glom on to. It’s almost as if my illness is fighting to stay alive just as hard as I am. There are times I question if either of us will make it out alive, as if it were a sentient being and not just a part of my brain chemistry. I feel as if only one of us can survive and depression is stronger and more stubborn. But after each Hellish night, the sun rises again. As do I. Despite the merciless tugs at my heart strings, I do not allow myself to become depression’s puppet. I find salvation in the moments I am smiling. I salvage pieces of joy from my life and collect them for the willpower to persist during moments of strife. I live with depression but I am not this disease. Underneath the layers of pain resides a persistently optimistic soul that my illness cannot touch because that is the real me, and that me won’t surrender.