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The Memory Index: S is for Sybil

The Memory Index: S is for Sybil -
Life is memory in motion, and who we are blends into that. This project explores each letter of the alphabet through memory and identity. I am but a brain with a body, with something snarky to tell.

The woman screaming in the ‘dark side of the moon’ is me.

My Teta once told me, as she rolled grape leaves, that we’re all born with a Jinn, a carbon companion that mirrors our every move and whispers to us in the dark.

I am not a depressed person, I am a person with depression.

The earliest memory I have of Sybil, my shadow, is in early grade school. After Saturday morning cartoons one snowy day, unicorn fleece pajamas and all, I stared out of the window of my parent’s L-shaped, gray kitchen, the light off the snow sharp in my eyes. She appeared to me in a feeling as I pressed my palms onto the frosted window; I wished to not exist, “The world would be better off without you,” she whispered.

You are haunted by your own shadow…

The day begins but never ends and you don’t remember going to sleep. As your feet drag the floor, you feel the weight of heaven and hell grind against your shoulders. It is hard to think, hard to do anything. Your soul is putty, your heart, a leaking piñata, and you don’t recognize yourself much, can’t subtract yourself from your double’s embrace. Your rose-colored glasses are streaked in shit and you don’t have a handkerchief to wipe them clean. You are haunted by your own shadow, by the things you did and more-so by the things you didn’t do.

The hardest part of depression is all the assumptions. “No one cares,” she adds. They believe my faith is weak because I ache. They believe I choose this swallowed sadness. They snap their fingers and wait for me to conform. When I don’t, I am ashamed. When I try to explain, I am a shame, a blemish on the face of society — it’s all in my head.

Attributing simple logic to a disorder that is more complex and individual than even the DSM can explicate diminishes the severity and trivially transforms the illness into a romanticized notion; the blues. I went to school for this, to understand the empty and fix it inside of me, but I’ve accepted the terms instead.

If the body can fall under illness – why is it so hard to accept that the mind, too, can succumb?

One in four people suffer from a depressive episode before the age of 24 and every 38 seconds, one person commits suicide in the U.S. Globally, depression effects people across class and color lines — I read these statistics in the 11th grade when I started to realize that I might be one of them. The same way my eyes burned that snowy morning, they burned under the LED light of my computer screen as I retook the depression quiz over and over until it was time for school.

They believe my faith is weak because I ache.

Die already,” she has concluded a thousand and one times over. And once, I almost listened to the darkness, to the whispers of my impostor.

My friend gave me Vicodin to help me sleep and I wanted to help myself to the quiet the darkness often promised.

The greatest struggle is the self against the self.

The favorite plot of every literary giant, and I am here still, with Sybil.

The Memory Index: S is for Sybil -

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The Memory Index: S is for Sybil -

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