Destruction: What Depression Feels Like

Guest Writer: Brianna Witte; Canada

A single, green leaf fell off of the old oak tree. It drifted in the wind like a soft, light feather; its beautiful, translucent surface allowing the sunlight’s majestic glow to shine through it. 

I felt a small tingle as the leaf landed lightly on my forehead. I let it sit there for a few seconds, debating whether or not to touch this peaceful creation of nature. However, like the careless young girl I was, I reached for it. I could feel the soft texture of the leaf as I held it in my hand; a feeling I knew would not last forever.

Just as everything I have touched before had done, the leaf began to smoulder and burn in my grasp. I watched with tears in my eyes as the leaf disintegrated into ash. I flexed out my fingers, letting the small grains of dust slide between them as it fell to the ground. 

A tear dripped down my face and onto my hand where it evaporated into thin air. 

A sob escaped my lips as the tears rolled out from my eyes. I dropped to the ground under that old oak tree, making sure that my destructive hands don’t touch anything else.

Sadness and heartache overcame me. The tears blurred my vision to the point where I was almost blind and my throat ached from my sobbing. 

Yet again, I felt the icy cold grip of despair clinging to my body; its hands digging into my skin and rooting itself into me. I was a destroyer; everything that I touched died. There was no joy in my life; only sadness and fear. 

All of my hopes and dreams had gone up in flames as soon as I had begun them. Nothing ever turned out in my favour. Anything that brought me happiness would be gone in the blink of an eye. 

I felt like an outcast; pushed away from the heard as they grazed and ate at the watering hole. I was the lone gazelle grazing far enough away to be easy prey to the lions; the one that was left to die while the others ran free. All of my social endeavours ended in awkward silence or no one speaking to me. 

Only the few people close to me knew how to avoid my destructive abilities, but it still didn’t help. Destruction always found a way to sneak back into my life. I would leave those closest to me disappointed and upset. I couldn’t do anything right. 

So here I was, yet again feeling completely alone in the one place that seemed to make me feel the slightest bit if happiness; my garden. 

I hadn’t always been like this. I had build this garden as a child. Back then there always seemed to be a feeling of warmth and happiness in the air. But as I grew older, those safe, warm feelings began to freeze. No matter what I did, it always ended up being a point against me. 

I wish I could go back to those happy days; to relive the time when my life seemed to be working out for the better. I had tried so many times to overcome the despair that was sneaking its way into every crevasse of my body. However, I had lost that battle many years ago. There was no stopping it. Destruction was all that I could bring to this world. 

My eyes burned as if the delicate membrane was being scrapped off. There were no more tears left to cry. 

I stared at the colourful flowers ahead of me, trying to feel anything other than the string of regret and sorrow. Despair’s grip continued to hold strong as if its icy roots were embedded within me forever. I could feel nothing; I was numb on the inside. Not even the evidence of my previous achievement could make despair go away now. 

Out of the corner of my eye, I could see something fluttering towards me. I slowly moved my head in the direction of the object. 

A monarch butterfly flew in my direction; its delicate orange wings peacefully gliding in the warm summer air. 

I looked away, knowing that it would not come any closer, just like all the other animals do; I was something dangerous. Something to stay away from. 

I stiffened as I felt something small land on my shoulder. It seemed as if the impossible had happened. Keeping my hands clenched in my lap, I twisted my neck to look at the butterfly. It stood on my shoulder, staring into my eyes. I was waiting for it to fly away in fear; after all, with just one touch I could incinerate it. But the butterfly did not move.  

It stood there, moving its wings up and down as if tempting me to touch it. I pang of fear hit my gut. My heart beat rapidly in my chest. I didn’t know what was going on.

All of a sudden, my body froze. I could feel the cold claws of despair loosening like ice melting on a warm spring day. The muscles in my mouth began to move into a position that they hadn’t been in in a long time; a smile. 

This butterfly was not afraid of me. It was as if it knew what strength despair had over me; as if it was willing to help free me from this unhappy place I had been in for so long.

I carefully lifted my hand above the butterfly’s wings, unsure whether I should attempt to touch it. Making the first move, the butterfly flew onto my finger; its small legs gripping my skin. A sigh of relief slipped out of my lips. 

The butterfly did not burn into ash. I was not destroying it. My curse was lifted by this one small creature. This single, small act of kindness had freed me for the time being. 

As if it had been going about its usual day, the butterfly took off into the garden. I leaned against the old oak tree, confused. 

Despair had had a hold of me for so long that I had forgotten what it was like to be myself again. 

For the first time in a long time, I felt as if I could do something right; I could be happy again.  

About Brianna Witte:

As an up and coming writer from Ontario, Canada, I have a passion for spinning tales of adventure and fantasy. I enjoy taking readers on a ride through the realm of fiction by weaving magical and mystical stories that materialize from my wildly creative dreams and vivid imagination.