When he begins to spiral, he changes from happy to unresponsive as fast as lightening. He withdraws into himself, and no matter how close I am, he goes so very far away. I can see his mind churning as he pops his ear buds in and blasts his music to drown out the world and I want to reach into his head and turn his thoughts off. His eyebrows furrow, his expression is as if he is waiting for a verdict to be read. I offer my hand, and he looks at it for a moment before shaking his head and pushing it away. Inside, my heart breaks. I can’t touch him and he can’t speak to me. We sit there in silence, oceans away from each other, and I wait for him to come back to me.
It’s so different being on the outside of depression. My friends and I were all depressed together, but this is different. This time I’m better than I was, and this time I’m not the one spiraling. I thought that since I had been through depression, I would be able to handle it in others like a pro. But this is different. I’m watching someone I care for spiral, watching them slowly slip through my fingers like grains of rice, trying to retain as much of him as possible so I can help put him back together. There is nothing I can do except be there when he needs me, and I feel so useless. I feel stuck. I feel like I’m not enough.
But that doesn’t matter. All that matters is the moment his fingers brush my thigh, letting me know he is on his way back to the world. On his way back to me.