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How to Deal With a Depressed Person

Heba Salameh

1. Don’t ask me to look for a silver lining
when I can’t even point out the sky to you,
when I can’t wake up before 12 pm
because my bed feels like an old friend
that I haven’t quite understood,
an old friend who left with no explanations
but I just couldn’t let go

2. Stop telling me to go out more, relax, go for a walk, or eat healthier.
I won’t.
Fuck off.

3. Stop telling me to stop binge watching
because it binges me
It puts my brain to sleep
And my brain is a five-year old
with daddy and mommy issues,
and no-friends issues,
and give-me-more-chips issues,
I know it’s not a meal but I don’t care about my body,
and second-hand-smoking issues
because mommy smokes when stressed
and stress is her first-born when she was first born
and I don’t even know what that means!

4. Don’t yell,
don’t slam shut doors,
don’t love me, don’t leave me
Because I can’t really control my body’s shaking,
and the voices in my head
are like an arab grandmother:
always weaving unreasonable explanations,
like thinking someone is conspiring against them
But I’ve gotten over my leaving trauma,
so please, on your way out
close the door gently behind you.

5. Hold me close
but don’t touch me at all
Hear my silence,
my sobbing.
Tell me everything is not okay.

6. Take out your bullshit
preferably twice a day,
that shit stinks!

7. Do not tell me “what’s for your own good”.
I ran out of good,
sorry for the inconvenience.

8. Keep your advice to yourself
“smoking is bad for your health”
No shit?! Why else do you think I smoke?
The lit tip of my cigarette is
my lighthouse,
my lighthome.
Do not tell me that my health matters
when ashes are covering my hair, my nails, my arms
My ashes are my buddies,
My body’s
I’m burning myself to the ground
and I’m not asking you to grab a jug of water,
I’m asking you to hear the crackling of my fire;
acknowledge it.

9. No, I can’t just “make friends”
Friendship is a vending machine
and I am broke,

10. Don’t tell me how shook you are
that I’ve been seeing a therapist
for the last three years
but I still automatically point out
the highest building in every street I walk in
to assure the success of my suicide plan.

11. I’m not just sad.

12. I will not just “get over it”

13. I will not cry it out or laugh it off.

14. I feel no comfort in knowing that I am not alone in what I feel.

15. Help yourself to a glass of I’m Listening juice,
and while you’re at it,
try some of those I Won’t Blame You For Your Feelings cookies,
and how about a slice of I’m Here cake?

16. Ask me why I chose blue for my bedroom walls
or why I love collecting mugs
or how I fell in love with books
instead of asking me how my day was
or why I didn’t leave my house for the past three months
And do not hold me accountable
for not giving an answer
that psychologically explains why
my mental health is the way it is, because:

17. I do not owe you any explanations.