What Depression Does to a Friendship

People dealing with depression often struggle with insecurities and fears that make it hard to maintain relationships with other people. This poem describes the experience of knowing a loved one wants to help you – and their helplessness at being unable to. 


Sitting across the table

You look at me as if I am miles away from you.

Your eyes have the look

of a person trying to find something in the waves,

desperate to find objects which left the shore.

You take my hand in yours and ask

“What is bothering you

Please tell me.

And don’t give me crap like

‘I can deal with it’.


You don’t have to.

Not anymore.

You are done hiding away

behind the doors of smiles and fake laughs.

Talk to me about the

scars on your hands,

the demons in your head,

the razors, the blades, the knives,

the times you have cried yourself to sleep.

Tell me the secret stories

that only your pillow knows.

Let me enter the world

that you have shut away with walls

built of insecurity and fear.”


I sit there watching you break down, blaming me for

shattering all the ideals of friendship.

And this truth hurts.

I know I haven’t been a good friend lately,

locking myself away.

And you, of all people

Should not be treated this way.

But I am helpless

I have so much to share,

tell you about the times

I brought the razor too close to my veins,

when I was standing on the terrace and

acrophobia kicked in.

I want to call you on the days

When I don’t feel like getting up from the bed.

Also on the days

When I just want to laugh, talk to people and travel.

You deserve all this

Not my darkness, my monsters

Not my pangs of guilt,

not my insolent behaviour.

But I can’t do that.

Every time I reach my hand out for help

I can feel the snickering from behind the curtains

I feel the eyes

Judging me,

Observing me

Talking to me, about me

Figuring out what is wrong with me.

I have tried calling for help but,

I have heard the echoes of my screams bounce back

I have seen the world go around as usual

With me standing in the middle,

too exhausted to move.

It’s not your fault,

I have put up my guards high

so high that even I can’t escape

my own castle’s walls.

I am not happy here.

I think of all this and look at your swollen eyes

Your helpless dejected face.

determined to set everything straight

I say,

“I am fine

It’s just work, studies, some stressful days.”

And again go back in the shell I created

Scraping the walls for some sun rays.

Nandini Singh is an 18-year-old majoring in English, political science and history at Christ University, Bengaluru. Find her on Instagram and Twitter @_writerbro 

Featured image credit: frank mckenna/Unsplash