The first time I remember feeling depressed was in my childhood, and it only got worse with time. My world came crashing down when I was 10 and my mother was diagnosed with cancer. It was so difficult to lose the innocence of childhood so quickly and have to get to know the ugly side of life – pain, disease, hospitals, the uncertainty of whether she’ll come back home each time she left the house. I tried so hard to be a good kid and not add to the problems at home – the debt, the medical bills, being bullied at school for being poor and enjoying learning, always so kind and agreeable, a delight to have in class. Learning to cry soundlessly at night so as not to disturb anyone. Fighting hard for a scholarship to study abroad, make something of myself. The guilt of not being there when she passes. A taste of self-harm, medication and therapists, but no one seems to be able to ask the right questions to start any kind of healing process. All they want to know is why I can’t perform academically like I used to. Trying to rebuild a good relationship with my dad and my brother – three very different people, shellshocked and broken in three very different ways trying to live together. Desperately trying to build friendships, to study and work hard, make her proud. Hold on to the good memories, fight for reasons to keep on living, make something of myself. Trying to make it all stop by swallowing a fistful of pills that only make me sleep for 14 hours and wake up with a dry mouth feeling lightheaded. A second chance at university – new friendships, a new start, desperately looking for love and connection. Still as kind as I can be, agreeable, curious. First relationship, first heartbreak, wasn’t meant to be. Another scholarship to study abroad, the chance to leave everything behind again. I suddenly start losing my hearing – turns out it’s the same genetic disease my mother had. Isolation, inability to relate to people. Too depressed to finish the degree – again. Broke and hopeless in a foreign country – again. Somehow end up meeting someone, fall in love. He’s also broken. We click, and I pour all of my love into it, all I have left to give. Try hard to be a good person, a loving person – get therapy, get medication, remember to always charge my hearing aids, show respect even when I’m hurting – invest in myself and in us. Start thinking of hope for the future – a loving partner, a home, something to look forward to, a reason to keep going. Yesterday he says he’s too broken and I’d never be happy with him. No future, no happy home, no cooking together, nothing to look forward to. So why rebuild? I’m so tired. Every time I decide to start again and rebuild I end up the same way – alone, crying, with nothing to look forward to. The universe is cold and indifferent, there’s nothing out there. The worst betrayal in life – to do your best to get everything right, be kind, supportive, loving, never hurt anyone, and still somehow get it wrong at every turn. To display nothing but patience and willingness to get back on my feet – emotionally, physically, financially, academically, romantically – only for doors to close at every turn. Hope is the worst thing to have in life. I hoped I would see my mother again after leaving to study abroad. I hoped starting university again at a later age would turn out okay. I hoped being patient when my family members were selfish would work out because it would be my turn to speak and ask for support. I hoped the promise of a new love would heal us both and show us the way to a brighter future. As irrational as any of the small army of therapists I’ve consulted would say this kind of thinking is – I can’t help but draw the conclusion that hope doesn’t help, and your best intentions don’t help. I’m at the lowest I have ever been, knowing I could never be happy again. Rationally I know I will continue living and still try to do my best, but every heartbreak hurts more than the last, it takes longer to get up after every fall. I feel broken, bruised and tired, and so terribly alone. I’m not sure how long I can do this for. It doesn’t feel like I’m wounded anymore, but like all of me is one deep, festering wound that keeps bleeding, never to heal. I’m 30, but it feels like I’ve lived a thousand lifetimes and died a thousand deaths, because suicidal thoughts are traumatic in themselves, and envisioning my death in vivid detail every day is absolutely horrific, even when I don’t even leave my bed, let alone actually attempt it. After all, I’m a good kid, and I don’t want to leave any mess behind for anybody to find. Always agreeable and kind. I will smile for strangers and have a nice word for everyone. They don’t know they’re talking to a dead person, several times over. Continuing to live is the greatest agony. I wonder how long before I think I found happiness again, only for my heart to be ripped out of my chest again and trampled, still beating. The sadness never goes away. I’ll keep swallowing my pills and talking to the therapists, because I’m a good kid.