When I was a kid, I was scared of the dark. My overactive imagination was filled with ladies in white passing by me, dark ghosts that would render me frozen on the spot, or even eyes that would watch my every move.
I was terrified of the dark. I would sleep with the lights on every night. When I closed the lights in the hallway, I’d run to my room, all the while thinking of all the white ladies and bloodied eyes that would watch me. When I got to my bed, I would cover myself with the blanket even though the summer heat managed to bypass our roof and found me in my room instead.
My parents would tell me there are no ghosts, no monsters in the dark. They would waive it over to my imagination. My mom would tell me that I have nothing to worry about. My dad would tell me to turn off the lights, complaining about our raising electricity bill.
My brother would tell me there were no such things as ghosts. None of that really calmed me down or made me less afraid. My nights were still filled with listening for footsteps that weren’t there or whispers that only I could hear.
When I was a child, I was afraid of the dark. I sensed monsters, ghosts, bloody dead creatures crawling out of the woodwork of our home.
It’s been a few years since I was a child. I’ve grown up now.
My nights are no longer filled with me listening for these noises, shutting my eyes tight in fear of seeing something that wasn’t there. Instead, my nights are filled with silence.
Or sometimes, my nights are filled with tears. Sobs muffled into a towel, headphones on its loudest, door closed, and just that overwhelming feeling of being alone.
At the height of my depression, I ate nothing all day. I cried for hours upon hours at night. Only exhaustion brought me to sleep but it didn’t matter if I woke up three or twelve hours later, I would still be tired. I woke up feeling the dread of being actually alive but feeling nothing.
I stayed up all night without meaning to. Things I found enjoyable before were no longer an option. I forced myself to get up for work but I tired easily. Driving was a nuisance, eating was a nuisance. I often slept during lunchtime. Pants that fit me well became too big for me. All my clothes were too big for me.
Before I had depression, I wanted to lose weight. As I stood in the shower, looking and seeing at how much weight I lost, I laughed at the irony. I still wasn’t happy.
When I was a kid, I was afraid of the dark. I was scared of the monsters, bloodied white ladies, things that crawled up to your bed that weren’t alive.
Nowadays, I turn the lights off. I can’t sleep if it’s too bright. I’ve recovered from depression. I don’t cry anymore. I’ve gained back the weight I lost.
I don’t run down the hallway after I turn off the lights anymore. I don’t listen for footsteps that aren’t there, for voices of the dead.
At the height of my depression as I cried all night looking for a reason to live, I dared the monsters of the dark to come get me, to come look at this mess. I dared the white ladies to show themselves. Scare me, please. Go right ahead.
Because I’ve looked at myself and seen a bottomless pit. I’ve had to face my depression, a shade of black so deep I couldn’t look away.
And guess what? None of these monsters came.
I’m not afraid of the dark anymore.