Even the finest of warriors
Drawing by Ola Abulshalashel

My dearest dears, I lost track of time, in every sense of the word. I no longer understand what it means, what is too much and what is too little. Time is time, and in times like these, I let go completely and let time take the lead.

A lot can happen in two weeks, and time can also stand still. I never understood why it has to be two weeks, but it always is. I’ve learned it by heart — it gets darker slowly till you can’t see anything and you sleep for hours, days, and maybe a whole week, but suddenly your eyes get used to the darkness and you start waking up slowly, exactly like how the darkness snuck in. By day 10, it starts getting better and for a reason you have never understood the darkness fades away, and by the end of the two weeks you see the exit and you slowly crawl up and leave the hole, knowing you will return again sooner or later. The timing is a mystery but the return is always guaranteed.

The episodes can come one after the other or they can give me a break in the middle, they never fade away completely but they are not as scary as they were seven years ago. They are like some friends I know very well, but can never know when they will be coming. They’re with me through all the details of my day, walking, sleeping, eating, breathing. It gets heavier to breathe for all of them, and it gets darker from the crowd. People keep on asking me, why are you so distracted, why are your eyes too distant, what happened to your voice? I will tell you what happened. My voice got tired from talking to them, my eyes are distant because they can see nothing but darkness, and I am distracted because they are too many and they are here to stay and I won’t fight it any more.

I keep on telling myself: Even the finest of warriors, my dear, get exhausted, and let their guard down. Embrace these moments, mend, gather your courage, put the guard back on, and enjoy the imperfection of life as it unfolds within your everyday battles. I remind myself that my everyday battle is to survive. I give myself a tap on the shoulder, try to sleep but the bed is too crowded, wake to sip water with the pills and renew my wish to survive yet another day.

Medication was out of the question for me till I had a difficult time going through post-traumatic stress disorder together with my chronic depression. To each their own antidepressant they said, and that’s exactly how it was for me. After trying out different types, I finally found the one that gets me through the episodes with more acceptance, awareness and clarity. Together with therapy, I think medication can be very helpful. I live less intense episodes these days and it’s okay for now.

How I wish that depression could just fade away with a morning run or organizing a trip by the sea. How many times I have caught myself running my heart out, running till I cannot feel my feet, running till I am completely numb, and nothing changes. How many times have I taken the highway or the plane and gone to different places only to find myself sleeping in another bed and missing out on the sun, the sea, and whatever that is out there.

Rana Gaber 

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