My Demon, Depression

By Sydney Adamske
6th grade, Alice Deal Middle School, DC

With lines from "A Global State of Mind" by Joanne Silberner, a Pulitzer Center reporting project

The world just didn't seem to care.
How am I not noticed?
It asks from inside the depths of your soul.
Yet you still keep it hidden.
Hidden from the world.
From your people.
You stopped denying it a long time ago, but that does not mean others have.
Encircled by a nearly 5-foot-high metal fence.
Your cage, that you built to keep the monster in.
Not out, for the world to see, but in.
In your mind.
And the bars are made of the fruitlessly whispered words at night, trying to comfort, to please
To feel.
Nothing… was going to be of much use here.
In the cold, black waters of your soul, your mind, your very self.
The waves are rising, and you fight to keep your head up.
To continue fighting.
But eventually
The foaming liquid pulls you under
And you drown.
Depression affected 12 percent of women in the community.
You are one of them. One of the… depressed.
But you bore no scars.
Because scars only come once you've healed.
Once you've knit the skin of your soul together from the aching wounds left
By family.
By the world, even when they don't know it.
Especially when they don't know it.
Talk therapy.
Because then they'd look at you with pity.
As if you're a glass window, ready to shatter at any gust of wind or rain.
But you're not.
You are stone.
It has dragged its claws down you, and left marks, but you sparked and burned at the touch.
You survived.
Into the early morning hours.
That is its time.
When it shakes you awake with nightmares, and forces silent rain to run over your cheeks.
As it hisses words in your ear.
No one would miss you.
You think you can escape me?
I am eternal.
There is no one who will save you.
Waste of life.
And you consider it.
One action.
Then it'd all be over.
But something stops you every damn time.
Friends, family.
Music, arts.
Why? You don't know.
Sometimes you feel proud that you haven't.
Other times ashamed.
And you fear the day that nothing comes to stop you.
Not for you, but for them.
The ones that stopped you.
Loath to admit mental illnesses existed at all.
It's funny
How little others see
When they don't want to.
How easy it is
To pretend
And lie
And smile when you're hollow.
But they call you a child.
Each known instance of suicide might represent…
So many things.
It got worse with so many things.
Little things.
Denied things, absent things.
So little that no one knows.
They never see.
Anxiety disorders, eating disorders, and other things.
It's never just one.
Just one trunk, with many dark, dark roots.
But no one ever knows that.
They don't know that every day,
It's something different.
A new horrible feeling.
And no pleasant ones.
Non-communicable diseases.
You never say it.
Because you're afraid
That if you do
The blackness will reach up from where you've shoved it deep, deep down
And swallow you whole.
A bad spell
"It's just a phase."
You know that's what's running through their heads.
But it's not a phase.
It's your demon
And you're either going to smother it
Or let it creep over you like fog
And drag you

Sydney Adamske
Sydney Adamske

My name is Sydney Adamske. I am 12 years old, and a sixth grader at Alice Deal Middle School in Washington DC. I like to write poetry and stories in my free time, as well as play soccer. I chose to write about depression because I feel it is a matter that many in my and other generations do not address. This needs to change.

Read more winning entries from the 2018 Fighting Words Poetry Contest