April 22nd:

I’m currently on a plane heading to Rome, where my friends, Gia and Valentine are. I know that they both care about me and my well-being means a lot to them. Valentine suggested that I visit him, saying, “It’s been a while since you’ve been feeling down. Why don’t you come here? I’m sure you’ll feel better after a few days!”

I was hesitant at first since I didn’t have any travel plans, both financially and emotionally. However, I reluctantly bought my ticket and started my journey. My sister told me that I made the right decision to take a step towards feeling better. She knows my state of mind very well since she’s also been struggling with depression.

She’s currently going through a divorce process, and the daily stress and anxiety have taken a toll on her. But last night, when we talked, I saw her smile for the first time after a long time. Her eyes were sparkling. She told me that her psychologist had diagnosed her with depression-free symptoms and that she needed to gradually stop taking antidepressant. She was sharing her experience with me, smiling as if her life had entered a new phase.

She had transformed from a hopeless and defeated girl to someone who talked about accepting pain in life and letting go of things we can’t control. She said, “If I got better, means you’ll get better too.”

I looked at my phone and saw many unanswered messages. I had been putting off my calls with my friends for a while. When I did talk to someone, my battery died quickly. I open the messages one by one, and most of them were from my Iranian friends asking how I’m feeling from different parts of the world. It made me smile to see that my feelings mattered so much to people who were miles away from me, while the people I spent my days and nights with had no idea about my condition. It gave me a strange feeling of contrast.

I am slowly responding to messages and scheduling calls for next week. Before leaving my room, I tidied it up properly. There is a strange connection between my inner state and the cleanliness of my room. When I’m not feeling well, my room is also messy. Just by getting up from my spot and organizing the things, I instantly felt better in the morning.

I’m heading to Rome now to be with people who I know care about me. I hope that these few days in Rome will give me hope that my days don’t have to stay as depressive as they’ve recently been forever.

Depression made me feel hopeless about the future. When I have a glimmer of hope for better days, I feel way better.

April 26th:

As we stroll along the streets of Rome, we observe the expressions of passersby and try to guess their thoughts. I point out a panting woman coming closer and say, “She looks like she’s thinking of taking her daughter home from the birthday party.”

He observes a tired man in a suit and remarks, “Judging by his gait, he’s exhausted. He’s probably headed to show a house to someone for rent and is frustrated with the prices and lack of parking around here.”

I look at boy in a suit with a mobile phone, walking with a special smile, and say, “He seems happy his girlfriend is with him and is likely planning where to go tonight!” As we continue our walk, we see a boy with curly hair walking with a friend, “He is probably wondering where to get some pizza and is getting hungry.” We thought.

We go to a pizza shop and order small slices of potato, zucchini, and four-cheese pizzas. He picks up the pizza box, and we head to the river as the it starts to darken. The sun is setting, casting an unusual glow in the sky. We sit by the water and enjoy our pizza, feeling content and grateful to be here. On this trip, I wandered around Rome, chatted with Valentine and Gia, and felt like I wasn’t alone. Though having been lost in my thoughts and feelings in the past few months, I had forgotten how a journey and change of scenery could uplift my spirit.

He thanks me for being here and says, “I feel much better now.”

I reply, “Thank you for suggesting I come.”

As night falls, we make our way towards the Vatican. The moon glimmers beautifully in the sky, with a few faint stars visible above us. The air was slightly chilly but pleasant, and the old cobblestone path we walked on added to the charm of the place. As we strolled along, he asked me, “If you could, what would you?”

Without hesitation, I replied, “If I could, I would have my family living in Europe. I would have more money not to have a better life, but to travel more easily, explore the world and see my friends more often. I would be fluent in two other languages besides English and Persian and be proficient in playing a musical instrument. I would have a mentor who could manage my artistic works and teach me how to become an artist. Ultimately, I would showcase my work somewhere. I would have a teacher who would read my writing and help me becoming better at writing. I would also have the ability to be in different places simultaneously or be able to change the color of things. For example, I could turn this car into yellow, and I would also recognize the taste of colors, like eating m&ms with closed eyes, and tell you its color.”

He replied, “I really like your creative mind. I enjoyed hearing this answer.”

I smiled and gazed at the Vatican, which appeared before us with a special beauty. Rome seemed calmer than ever, and I felt calm too.

Being able to be who I am, calm, crazy, weird, and beautiful, can distance the feeling of loneliness from me. Perhaps not experiencing this feeling for a long time had made me depressed. Maybe I had forgotten how much I had to love myself and how much love I could give myself. A love that I could dedicate to myself when I am myself, my true self. What others give or receive from me is only a part of it.

Rome has given me what it should have and I’m ready to be back to Germany.

2 thoughts on “Finding Light in Darkness: My Depression Diary (part 2)

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