The melancholy began to set in sometime in December. It’s always hard to pinpoint exactly when. As I counted down to the new year, it counted down with me.

It followed me into January and here it is with me now. Pressing down on my chest at night, crawling down the skin of my arms, working its way into my head.

I call it melancholy but that’s an understatement. It’s a voice in my head that tells me, “You’re not good enough.”

It says, “You’re a waste of space. You don’t know what you’re doing. You’re such a burden.”

It says, “Just give up on life already.”

This January was one of the lowest lows I’ve experienced in years. I couldn’t even muster up the energy to contemplate death. “I would like to sleep forever,” I said to a colleague one night.

On the outside of my head, I have been showing up, somewhat. At work, in messages, via email. My physical self walks out into the world and smiles. But on the inside, I am absent. 

My body has learned to operate without my consent.

After all, it’s been years since the melancholy first started. And although it tells me I shouldn’t want to live anymore, I’m not ready to give up on life. 

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