Hello Depression by Doug Wallace

Hello, my friend,” I said as I sank further into my chair. I squinted against the pesky light filtering in through the gaps in the window blinds.

I need to invest in blackout shades.

Light was so unwanted during a bout of depression. There was nothing like sitting quietly in the dark, sulking in my threadbare recliner and smelling the funk of my apartment change from week to week. My world was my apartment, and I liked my world dark. Especially when entertaining guests.

Depression didn’t answer my greeting. No “Hello”, not a single “How are you”. I didn’t really expect one though. Saying hello was my way of acknowledging that our on-again off-again relationship was decidedly on again. As the late afternoon sun moved along its course, a shaft of unwelcomed light snuck through gaps in the blinds and landed on the TV tray next to my chair. Half-empty microwave dinner plates were stacked up three deep and takeout boxes from days ago lay in a pile on the floor where they had been brushed aside.

I’ll clean that up tomorrow. Or maybe I won’t.

I glared at the beam of light, willing it to disappear, but I was too entrenched in my despondency to actually get up and do anything about it. So I sat there, even though the little specks of dust dancing in and out of the light seemed to mock me.

hello-depression

How I hated that light.

Soon the shaft had moved to the end of the TV tray where it rested on a brown medicine bottle with a white cap and label.

Wellbural.

I played with the name in my head, twisting it and turning it like one might an object in their hand. Wellbural…Well buralWell Burial. I smiled, but it didn’t feel right. Not in my present condition. I felt a little ashamed. One isn’t supposed to smile while on a date with Depression. She is quite jealous of the lighter emotions. I knew this and pushed the humorous thought from my mind, but try as I may to return to the ecstasy of my gloomy existence, I could not help but remember the product tagline from the Wellbural commercials.

“Get back to who you really are!” and “Find a new and improved you!”

To make matters worse, that damn jingle pried its way past the dead-bolted doors of my mind and took up a spot in the balcony of my mind’s stage as if to serenade me and Depression while we continued the smalltalk of our date.

Like always, though, the smalltalk was one-sided. Depression just sat there, neither smiling nor frowning, not responding to my questions and ignoring the morbid humour of my best jokes. And that’s just the way I like it.

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After a period of time that was much shorter than I expected, I was able to oust the chipper little jingle from my mind and replace it with some Debussy. Clair de Lune to be exact. There, that was better. I wanted to enjoy my sweet melancholy before the little green gelcap set in.

I’d never taken Wellbural, but if it was like the other antidepressants I’d tried it would have to build up in my system before I’d have to end my date with Depression. Then again, the manufacturer guaranteed results within thirty minutes.

Sure enough, after only half an hour of wallowing in disconsolate and dispirited sadness, I felt something different. Definitely not my friend Depression. A pressure behind my eyes began to build up. Soon it was a stabbing pain, as if someone were performing an icepick lobotomy on me. After a few minutes of agony, it subsided. That’s when I first heard his voice.

He wasn’t Depression. To the contrary, he was full of life and vigor and filled my mind with surging purpose and my body with more energy than I’d ever felt before. It wasn’t long before his exuberance led him to divulge the true extent of their plan and his role in it. By then he had pushed me deep into the darkest corner of my mind, barely able to feel my own existence, powerless to stop him, even if I’d wanted to. He had nothing to lose in revealing it all to me.

“We always have a host,” he said, “one that is well-suited for the planet we aim to occupy. Humans are perfect for our task on Earth, and what better humans to take on as hosts than those suffering from depression? We couldn’t use schizophrenics, they’re used to things like this. They might prove resistant. No, we chose the most dismally, unhappy, dejected, morose lot we could find. Those who are used to loneliness, no, those who crave it. And we were right. Look how easily I took over your body?”

Easily?

I might have taken that as an insult if I’d cared at that point, but I was still miserably downhearted and didn’t really mind the vacation from making decisions about my life. But then something happened that neither of us expected.

“Hello, my friend,” came a voice that belonged to neither me nor the alien usurper of my body.

Depression?

“Yes, my friend. And who is this other delicious soul I sense? I’ve grown gaunt for lack of food with you. This new soul is full of energy and life, a veritable cornucopia for one such as I.”

Before long, and with Depression’s help, I managed to regain some ground and return to my old haunts.

Now, sitting here in my worn-out recliner, I soak up the darkness and revel in my dejection. But not only my own. Watching Depression feast on the unsuspecting alien soul from the gelcap is better than any unhappy evening alone with microwave dinners. And with a thirty-day supply of Wellbural staring at me from my TV tray, I’m sure my friend Depression will be around for a very long time.

“Hello, Depression,” I’ll say each day. And each time Depression will respond with an eager “Hello, my friend.” And that is the way I like it.

Doug Wallace

Doug Wallace

Doug Wallace is a father of four kids who love the “mouth stories” he tells them each night before going to bed. After publishing his first short story in the creative section of a graduate student journal in college, he took a fifteen year break to focus on his career in the the IT security field, where he currently works to pay the bills. After being selected for a summer intensive with Orson Scott Card, Doug has written over twenty scifi short stories and is working on a number of scifi/fantasy book projects. His work can be found in anthologies by 67Press, Centum Press, JAMM, and online at 67Press and Metamorphose. He loves technology, history, and writing about his observations of what makes people tick. He frequently posts select short stories on his website - https://jamesdouglaswallace.com/
Doug Wallace

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  • David Fraser

    Perfectly captures the sluggish mire of depression without for a moment losing its sense of playful invention – which is a neat trick for a writer to pull off! And I did NOT see that ending coming…