Dan Roman uses a powerful metaphor of an ever-present roommate to describe his painful experience with depression. His recitation of this poem is a moving representation of how depression can take hold.
Living with Depression
My body is an apartment that I can barely afford because of the location.
An entire world of possibilities accessible in some multiple of my footsteps
And for some reason I can’t make it out my front door.
I’m starring at the splintered wood in the frame,
Where she slammed the door on her way out.
And ignoring the leaks in the roof and how I’m running out of buckets.
I try to remember that so many people want what I have,
That when I turn on my lights I become a part of a skyline that people look at and envy,
That living here is a privilege no matter how much it looks
Like these walls are about to crumble.
I pay my rent in late night laughter with loved ones, purple pink sunrises on the drive home,
Laced fingers that feel too tight to ever come undone.
But the price of existence grows higher ever year,
With every lost friend, every tear shed, every fight where I cannot make amends,
Every story I start to write where I can’t possibly imagine an end.
I earn less, and less, and my rent is late, until…
A letter comes in the mail and says my rent has been payed.
I have a roommate now, or maybe I always have.
Someone who started out as the silhouette stranger
On the other end of the bedroom of my brain.
I am living with depression, there is no other way of putting it.
He puts my walls up and everyone else stays out.
He tells me he is the only one who could stand these cramped quarters,
Where he seems to be spreading out more and more every single week,
Until there is no room left for anything that reminds me of me,
I can’t find room to eat anymore, and I don’t feel like collecting new memories,
Telling myself I only have room for the same old routine.
I have a roommate and he makes my friends uncomfortable.
Because when he’s around I don’t say much of anything.
When he’s around I keep my voice low, don’t want to make him angry,
Don’t wanna hear what he’s going to say when they leave.
When he’s around we spend all my time together.
When he’s around he’s the only one with the energy to answer my phone,
So I keep it shut off. I don’t want to know if people will keep trying to call.
I try to leave.
Try to find other apartments with different beds, different drinks, different drugs,
Anything to forget that I eventually have to stumble home,
Have to see him in the living room, hear his laughter all night keeping me up.
I never want to leave my bed.
He wants me to move out.
Wants me to vacate these walls with no bags packed.
I know. Wants my friends and family to forget my name only remember his.
I know. I can tell by the wallpaper he peels off.
By the thin pink blueprints he draws in my skin, his plans to make new bloodlines.
I know he wants me to move out, sometimes I do too.
I don’t know if there’s a difference.
Feature: Mysticsartdesign at Pixabay