There aren’t too many moments in this life where I can say that the voices in my head are completely silent. From the phone call last August to my petty life grievances, they have been ongoing, nonstop. They articulate the worse aspects of me. They pen a memoir of failure, an autobiography of depression. If I wrote that book today, what would I title it? “The Procedural Manual of All That Can and Did Go Wrong?” “Live Life to Its Fullest Potential: A Cautionary Tale of Being an Introvert too Afraid to Tie His Shoes Because He Might Tie a Noose Instead?”

The most ineffective piece of advice given: “If you’re unhappy with being unhappy all the time, why not try to be happy instead?” As if happiness is a choice that we can actually make. It’s not as if I’m never happy. There are moments when it doesn’t win. Times spent with my son. Times when I sit close to her, side by side in my bedroom or living room, watching whatever movie or show we’ve chosen for the night.

Depression is not a career choice. For those who think this is the path I chose for myself, you’re mistaking chemical imbalances to bad decisions. The forests have no say when they burn. No control over the raging winds, engulfed in flames.

What are the steps to exit the mourning? How do we repair the body when the scars are still visible? When the echoes of their voices fade, the sounds of their laughter still haunt those hallways. The way they smiled. The way they loved us.