Telling me you “feel sad, too, sometimes,” is not going to help me. Encouraging me to “go out and make new friends, talk to people,” is not going to make me okay. Saying “don’t be depressed,” is not a cure.

Do you think that I haven’t tried? That I haven’t forced myself to go out and mingle in hopes being social will make me better? If someone has suggested it, I have probably tried it and I’m tired of people thinking that they understand my illness better than I do when they have never experienced it.

When they have never cried in their room late at night because they feel so alone, when they have never felt like they were drowning by simply existing, when they have tried and tried to the point of wanting to give up on themselves. You don’t understand, and I’m not expecting you to, but I need you to stop pretending.

Pretending is an art that depression has taught me to perfect. I pretend to smile, pretend to be happy, pretend to be okay. But the fact is, I’m not. It’s something I am dealing with every day of my life and I am continuously trying to move forward. But sometimes the sadness tries to win and it’s hard. It always comes close. It’s tethered to me like a phantom limb and I carry it with me wherever I go – even in my best moments, it is still there.

Though I don’t expect you to understand my illness, I do need you to understand that none of this is easy for me. Existing is the hardest thing for me to do and yet I am trying my best to hold on. But telling me to “get out more” and “people have it worse than you, why are you sad?” is not going to make me better. Being “strong” or trying a new medication won’t magically fix me. Even if you think I “don’t have a reason to be depressed,” it doesn’t make it go away. I need you to stop minimizing what I’m going through.

Depression is not a simple sadness. It is an all-encompassing darkness that hangs over me and attaches itself to everything that I do. Switching between yanking me under and tossing me in other directions.

But I am a hurricane of a person.

I have a depression that lives inside me like a storm brewing under oceans, lying in wait for new victims to pull under, yet I find myself to only be marginally afloat, too.

There is destruction in my blood and grief in my mouth and though I do not seek to ruin all that casually exists before me, I seem to do it without trying.