My Toxic Friend and the Light That Separates
Janayah Chesson, Division 2, 11th grade #ws17e-s1d2

The normality of darkness is overwhelming. It has been exhausting and painful. Sadness drains all strength and desire, leaving you in the cold, leaving you for dead. It steals the your gleeful smile, like a thief in the night. There is no replacement for the void that it leaves. It feels as if there is no better you in the future, only you and the sadness. It results in weakness, but it could care less. It just takes and takes everything. The pills won't stop its destructive nature as it corrupts your radiance. It just keeps coming. I would never wish it upon my worst enemy. Depression has been a toxic friend; it stays close, and it is pernicious and obstructive. However, when I feel completely sunken, I think of my purpose. My dream. My light.

The darkness strangled me. I was gasping to take every breath, longing to hold the air like a newborn child. I was drowning in its emptiness. It stopped at nothing to take me. The shift then began from a dark place into a lighter one.

The light was now outside of me. It lifted me off of the ground. I was floating. And when it re-entered my body, as if it left something behind, I was encompassed, and the foreign light reached every corner of me. It seemed to have taken hold of my mind, wrapped it in paper, and gifted it back to me, modified. Then the light bestowed upon me a soul I was supposed to have, and I swallowed it whole. It felt warm around the soul I did not have before. There was a shining deep within. It was stuck in my body, and I felt awakened. The light was bright and burning. The world was clear like I had been living in an obscured abyss before that night. The bright light made the path to my awareness visible and useful. Then I awakened, my eyes slowly peering open. I noticed that within the dream the sting of sadness was omitted. I noticed it seeped into me, and it touched a part of me that was immune to the destructiveness of depression. So I keep hold of the dream. The message behind the dream would one day be useful. The light made something new visible, even as it seemed far; it felt like hope. It started with a dream, and it allowed me to escape my sadness.

I learned later that the light was a way out. I have been sad all my life, but the light, though sometimes dim, conjured a certain desire for understanding that pushed me forward. It eventually became my light. I wanted the hope that I had witnessed in the dream to be as familiar as sadness that I experienced everyday, so I have learned to channel my light. My hope. This is what I do differently from others.

I am aware of my sadness and the despair and hopelessness it brings. It is familiar. But the light within, buried in an untouchable part of my soul, pushes me past the darkness. It opens a door, when the darkness hides the key. Over the years, I have learned to harness my light, in an attempt find my true form, a form that is free from the cycle of continuous suffering. It has been a difficulty to do so, but somehow I have managed to use this light to fight. In the times I dread getting out of my bed, I think of the light. When I feel worthless, cursed with a dingy abyss for a mind, I think of the light. And especially when I only see the darkness, when I feel it consuming my happiness, I think of the light. My hope.I have recognized that it is not the sadness that defines me or makes me different; it is my determination, that combats the voids, that separates me. I conjure hope when there seems to be nothing but darkness.

It sometimes will be exhausting and painful. But when sadness drains, hope will refill. When depression is cold, hope will provide warmth. Darkness cannot steal if light is my security. I have a future and it is bright, and I am different because I use my light.
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