is the worst of maladies. It rips your heart out and leaves you breathless, exhausted, wasted, denuded. Your skin comes off and all your nerves get exposed, and you weep for no reason that you can explain to anyone, and no one cares, anyway. Depression makes you irritable and cranky and bad-tempered with everyone you know. The smallest things get under your skin, which isn’t there, so the smallest thing gets under your nerves and rubs them with salt so that you feel like screaming. There that, the endless and incomprehensible desire to scream your head off and, failing that, which you do, of course, because you fail at everything, you collapse into crying and self-loathing. Depression chains you to your bed or your chair or your corner, and if you manage to get up and walk around depressed, the chains drag and mossy anchors drag you back. You think about drowning. You long for death, to sink into the muck, the brown brownness of it, to bury your face into its dirty mess, your own dirty mess of self. You argue and blame and shout at people and feel furious with them for not understanding and stopping to throw their arms around you, kiss you, and hold you until the tears stop. The tears you fear will never end. But depression makes you monstrous and no one wants to kiss or hold a monster, so you carry on behaving monstrously, miserably alone, misunderstood, mistaken, misplaced, missed. Me miserable, which way I fly infinite wrath and infinite despair. You think you are going insane. You don’t trust yourself. You have no one but yourself to trust and so you fall into the lower deep that devours you. Depression confuses the mind and wrings the hands, it stammers the mouth and removes choices. It unfurls the mind, turning it against itself, dissolves the skeleton, hunches the back against the stairs uncomfortably. No comfort in the mind shut down and the body broken. They call depression a disorder. It is disorganized, chaotic, stormy, an attack, a tornado, a tidal wave of sadness, and it hurts. It burns the eyes, scorches the throat, stops up the nose and ears and painfully overstimulates every nerve in the body while simultaneously deadening everything, so that you move, if you can move, through the world muffled, muted, deafened, dulled, retarded, defeated, deflated. It washes you up on unfamiliar shores, it abandons you, wrecks you, dashes you, destroys you. Do not underestimate this affliction.