Depression is like a black fog clouding your mind. It places itself in your head and dwells there so you are rendered helpless at its mercy. It grows until your own thoughts can’t move through the thick mass. You become familiar with the feeling of emptiness because it's all you've ever known. You submit to it.

I grew accustomed to depression. I would stay in my room all day and wouldn’t leave my bed. I isolated myself from my friends and family. I was deeply troubled but I kept to myself for fear of being a bother. My parents were constantly worried about me because I wouldn't leave the house to visit them, or even answer their calls. My girlfriend left me because I didn’t spend enough time with her.  

My parents urged me to seek help and I started to see a psychiatrist. Dr. Miller prescribed me an antidepressant. I wasn’t overwhelmingly hopeful, but I was willing to try anything. I didn’t want to feel this way anymore. I hadn’t been happy for so long I’d forgotten what it felt like.

After several weeks on the medication without any change, I stopped taking it. Dr. Miller said it would take a while to start showing effect, but I didn’t want to wait. I wondered if anything would ever help me. Maybe I would feel this way forever.

I needed a rest from life. I had to go away to clear my head, just for a short while. My father had a cabin the woods he had given me a pair of keys to last Christmas. I’d heard nature could be used to treat depression. It was deep in the forest, far away from everyone else. I packed my bag and left my cell phone behind. I planned to return in a few days so I didn’t think anyone would miss me terribly.

The cabin was nestled deep in the woods. Wooden panels made up its exterior and dust completely covered its windows. Trees towered over the roof and the garden overflowed with greenery.

The inside of the house was quaint; decorated with shabby furniture and various knick-knacks. It smelt of mold and the floorboards creaked as I walked on them. The backyard had a small shed I used to keep my bicycle in and I placed all of my other belongings inside the bedroom.

I shut myself in the bedroom as I usually did. I immersed myself in solitude. I slept all the time and went for days without eating. Eventually, I stopped keeping track of time. I hadn’t spoken with anyone in a long time. The electricity stopped working, and I was left without any way of communicating with the outside world.

My condition worsened. I fell deeper and deeper into depression. Each day brought on more pain. And this time, I was all alone.

All of a sudden, I was unable to sleep. I was constantly in a period of restlessness, and every time I looked out the window, the sky was dark. It seemed as though it was always nighttime. I thought I must have been going insane from not leaving the house. I stepped outside, and to my surprise, something even more mysterious waited for me out there.

The house was surrounded by prison bars. I didn’t believe my eyes at first. I blinked, expecting for them to disappear, but the bars remained, standing taller than the roof. I tentatively approached the bars and reached out my hand to touch them.

I mustered all of my strength and tried to pull them apart, but to no avail. Gripping the bars tightly, I grunted in frustration. I couldn’t find a way of escape even after encircling the entire area.

“Is anyone out there?!” I yelled out. “Someone? Anyone?”

The sky remained dark and the prison bars still stood. I didn’t know how long it had been but I realized I had stayed here for much longer than I had intended. I wondered if anyone would ever come find me, if they were even searching for me.

I began to hear a voice in my head. It was deep and garbled, but I could conclude it belonged to a male. I tried to ignore it, but it only became more persistent. It only ever said one thing: “End it.”

The boredom became so overwhelming I resorted to banging my head against the walls. My nails had grown long and I used them to scratch at the walls until the paint peeled off. Bugs began to crawl out from beneath the floorboards and feed on the moldy food I hadn’t touched. The house was filled with a repulsive smell, like that of a rotting carcass.

It felt like I had been there forever, and I didn’t know how long I would remain there. The thought of being in this pain for an eternity was too much for me to bear. I burst into a paroxysm of sobbing and collapsed onto the floor. Tears streamed down my face and I cried out in despair.

Please, someone help me,” I begged between sobs, an agonized desperation in my voice. “Please, someone, anyone. I can’t take this anymore.”

My vision became clouded by my tears. A cluster of shapes suddenly appeared in front of me and I blinked away the tears to identify them. Standing before me was my mother, my father, my brother and sister, my former girlfriend, and Dr. Miller.

I had never felt such a rapturous relief. Overjoyed, I lifted myself off the floor.

“Mom, how did you find me?” I asked my mother, an expression of bewilderment formed on my tear-stained face.

“You've been gone for so long," she said disappointedly. "Why did you leave me?”

“I’m sorry, Mom. I don’t want to be here anymore. I want to go home. Please, take me home,” I cried, unconcerned that everyone, including my former girlfriend, was seeing me like this.

“You can’t go home,” she said flatly. My heart sank into my stomach at the sound of those unexpected words. She stared at me with cold, unsympathetic eyes.

“Why?!” I cried.

“It’s too late,” she said.

Shifting her gaze, she slowly rose her arm and extended her finger forward. I followed the direction of her pointing with my eyes. Hesitantly, I approached the beginning of the staircase and slowly began to make my way up, gripping the railing tightly to keep from falling. Incessant voices whispered incomprehensible words into my ear. It seemed as though the whole room was spinning. My knees felt weak and I thought I might faint. My heart raced and my body shook from fear. With each step, the smell of the rotting carcass intensified, inducing an overpowering sense of nausea.

The smell was so strong at the top of the staircase, it took all of my strength to keep myself from retching. Tentatively, I walked through the hallway, afraid of what was waiting for me. I reached the bedroom at the end of the hall and opened the door.

I gasped in disbelief and cried out in horror at the sight before me. Hanging from the ceiling was my limp, lifeless body.