I open my eyes to the sound of birds chirping, alongside that of a lawn being mowed a few feet away from my open window. My phone blares, telling me it’s time to wake up and make the most of my day. I turn it off and get out of bed, ready for some coffee and a shower. It’s a few hours later, and I’m walking across the bridge over the lake on campus, heading to my first class of the day. I look around and smile, taking in the beauty of my surroundings. Oh how lucky we are, I think to myself, to be able to live in such a stunning world.
I’m walking back from my last class of the day, full of energy and ready for dinner, as the sun goes down. That was a really productive day, I think to myself. Maybe I’ll have cheesy pasta for dinner. I’ve earned the carby deliciousness.
I’m at a pub with my friends, having a pint of cider and chatting pure shite as someone sings along to Single Ladies in the background. I’m so content, so satisfied with how my life is in this moment. I want it to last forever….and that’s when it hits. The first wave of hollow. The first signs of the grey cloud reappearing. I rack my brain trying to figure out what triggered it, but nothing specific comes to mind. And suddenly, I just want to curl up in bed and feel miserable. I can’t maintain the smile on my face, and my pals notice. One asks if I’m okay, and I brush it off, plastering a fake smile on my face. They don’t know yet – and if its up to me they never will. The cloud isn’t as bad yet, I think to myself. I might be able to ride it out. However, not before long I have to make up an excuse – something to do with having had too much to drink (despite there still being a substantial amount of cider in my glass) and needing to go to bed.
I walk home in silence, clutching my wallet and phone. The warm wind of the May night envelopes my face, temporarily making me forget about the waves of darkness washing over me.
The days pass by in a blur of unwashed hair, wrinkled sheets, and empty packets of ramen strewn around my room. Half-finished notes lie open on my study table, as I lie in my bed wearing the same pair of leggings for the fourth day in a row pseudo-watching what felt like the 100th episode of Friends. I feel nothing, want to do nothing, and process nothing except a strange pull in the bottom of my chest – a longing for something that I can’t seem to understand.
Once the cloud passes, I go back to being my usual self for a few days before it comes back and the cycle begins again. Being depressed is not fun, it’s not pretty – it reeks of shame, tears that never leave my eyes, and unrealized potential. It’s a force that I will most likely struggle against my entire life, and that terrifies me. But I continue to struggle on.
I revolt against the cloud, putting one foot in front of the other, soldiering on because feeling content, fulfilled even for a day, is worth it.
It’s enough for now.
By Vidushi Tiwari
Vidushi is a student of journalism and politics at the University of Stirling. She hopes to be a war journalist someday, but for now she’s focusing on having pink hair and petting every dog she sees. She also enjoys looking at trees and listening to music in the sun.
Artwork by Chloe Early.