“Depression is being coloublind but constantly told how colouful the word is”~Atticus Poetry.

The Pretty Face of Depression

5 min readJan 8, 2023
A picture of a lady with smudged mascara on her face, it looks like she was crying. And she has a paper with a smiley face held over her mouth. It depicts the paradox of depression where you’re sad and drowning but still smile or the world seems to be happy around you.
Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

It feels like a rollercoaster.
You’re up, and you’re down,
Sometimes you’re on a high and chill in bliss for a while, and then the ride comes down suddenly, gets you off-guard, plunging down with a thud, and before you know it, you’re face down.
And it can stay down there or come back up right away,
Sometimes you’re in control, and the lift obeys, then, with the pretty face of depression, it sneaks up on you, takes charge, and takes you round and round…whatever the ride feels like doing.

And when it’s in the roughest of the waves;

You feel totally lost,
And uncomfortable in your own skin
Foreign in familiar surroundings,
Suddenly walls feel like they’re closing in on you,
And rooms you previously thought big suddenly feel small,
And you want to choke on your own breath…
Alive but barely breathing.

During that time,
You’ll discover your most broken self; even mirrors will appear broken, you look into them, and instead of your lovely face, all you see is a reflection of disconnected pieces of yourself.

But you’ll also want out so bad, despite the rollercoaster ride. And when you think of doing the work,
You feel exhausted just at the thought.
Fear and darkness will engulf you when you imagine the thoughts and demons you need to face. You’ll want to disappear but at the same time want so badly to be found.

A picture of a hand illuminated amidst a dark background. It symbolizes being lost in the dark but wanting out so bad.
Photo by Cherry Laithang on Unsplash

But your brain will keep nagging you to give it a try,
Because at the back of your mind, you know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
It probably calls onto you, but you’re too lost in the present state, obliviously distracted by the pretty face of depression,
Like Moses and the burning bush, you’ll look into the fire and hear the voice,
But unlike him, there are other voices in your head, too loud that you can’t hear the vital one clearly.
So you just stare into the fire, listen to the other voices, and see your brokenness in the fire. And say, “nah, the divine has abandoned me, no voice is interested in calling me.”

But if you stay still for a moment and breath, you’ll hear it telling you that you’re gonna be AOK. You’ll know that you’re not alone. And you’ll get the courage to work on yourself.

And then the work starts.

But here’s the thing; you’ll think, “ah, now the smooth ride starts,” then realise you just started a horrific journey.

You struggle to claw your way out of dark places,
Try digging your way out, but mostly your fingers will bleed, and your nails will fall off,
Your face will feel numb, but you’re unaware of whether it’s because you’re hot or cold,
You’ll sweat the usual sweat, blood, and tears,
Make progress of 10 steps up, then tumble downhill 15 right after, and suddenly your sanity account is overdrawn,
So you just give up because, well, you built something, a beautiful Jenga masterpiece, moved one piece, and it falls apart, yet starting afresh is just too exhausting.

So you lie down and refuse to get up.

But eventually, because the distant voice keeps calling on you,
You wake up the next morning and try again.
And it gets easier,
You learn to turn a face-down fall into a push-up, and when you’ve mastered more resilience, you turn it into a burpee and leap high up whenever you fall.
And know that you’ll hack it, provided you don’t stay still when you fall but keep moving.
Because why, then, did Nita Sweeney write the book, “Depression Hates a Moving Target”?
Something about refusing to stay still in the darkness worked. Maybe it’s because whatever you’re running from won’t catch you, or it will give up. Perhaps you have no idea why you’re running. Still, you could stumble upon good graces along the way, or you’ll get clarity of mind and finally know what you need and are running to. The point is, keep going no matter what.

And when you learn to get up despite the bruises and the discouraging whispers in your head:
You discover your strongest self,
A strength you never knew you had,

And you learn that:
The brokenness was just breaking new ground in you to build a better and stronger foundation,
That to heal a wound is only possible if you take off the bandage you’re using to safely cover it and instead expose it to the stinging reality of medicine,
Only when you face the voices in your head and your demons do you take them head-on, silence them, learn to live with them, and smile heartily again.

A picture of a happy black young woman laughing heartily in nature, with a bright yellow flower in her hand, to depict happiness and freedom.
Photo by Benigno Hoyuela on Unsplash

Don’t ever let the voices in your head get too loud,
Don’t lose focus of the light at the end of the tunnel,
If you keep your eyes on it, nothing can stop you from moving toward it.

Because eventually,

Regardless of how tiny the steps are or how long it takes, you’ll arrive.
And you’ll be glad you tried one last time, got up, did the work, gave in to vulnerability, never gave up on yourself, sought sanity, and made it to the other side.

You’ll find you and fall in love with them and the world.
Mirrors will be whole again, and you’ll see your smile and no longer be scared to look at your reflection.
You’ll see so much beauty and possibilities around you that you’ll question why all you previously spotted were dark clouds.
You’ll inhale, feel alive, and feel good to breathe again.
You’ll discern the floodlights just waiting for you to bask in their brightness to illuminate your glory.




I see extra in the ordinary & use words to paint it; fueled by a quest for mental health. Lover of forests, fitness, nature, good food & reading & a coffee snob