subject line: message in a bottle. July 28, 2015 by Hannah Brencher nebraska I’m not scared of dying. But it scares me that I’m not scared of dying. It makes me anxious, being not afraid of something that everyone else is so afraid of. At first I thought maybe it was my superpower, not being afraid of things. But then life got bad. Really bad. The first time I crashed my car I wasn’t scared. Not until after I crashed and couldn’t get myself out of a ditch. The thing I became scared of then was the sheer disappointment of not catching on fire and dying right then. That’s when I realized that maybe I was just so depressed I never even realized it. There, in the ditch, looking at my beat up car I realized that what I was looking for was a way out. Out of being alive. I wasn’t the fearless girl, I was emotionless girl and the secretly depressed girl. And things went from bad to worse. I stopped eating, I kept sleeping. I slept for twenty hours a day for weeks. Ned Vizzini wrote, “If you can’t get out of bed long enough, people come and take your bed away.” And he was right. I was on a new schedule I wasn’t allowed to sleep anymore. I had to go to classes, I had to see my friends, I had to say something at dinner. Then I got really good at hiding it. Suddenly I was smiling again, my friend said to me, “I don’t think you’re really depressed, I think you’re just the normal amount of sad like everyone else.” We laughed about it. But I didn’t feel not sad anymore. I can’t tell you what classes I took that year. I can’t tell you if I took any trips anywhere. I couldn’t even tell you what color my comforter was that year. I just remember the crushing feeling of nothing. I’ve talked to everyone about depression. The School Board, the Therapist, the Parents, the Boyfriends, the Best Friends, the Random Strangers, The Doctors. I send text messages like a pirate on an abandoned island. “Hey, I’m still here.” “Hey, I’m alive,” “Hey, hey notice me.” “Hey do you realize how alone I am today.” But like messages in a bottle I never know where they’re landing. If they’re landing anywhere. I rarely get a response. I call my friends at all hours of the day and night. I leave messages saying, “Nothing new to discuss here”, “just missing you, like always,” or my personal favorite, “just please give me a call back when you get this message”. Sometimes I just meow because I don’t know what else I can say. I want to scream. Always, loudly, a bloodcurdling scream to see if I still exist to anyone anymore. Because sometimes I don’t recognize myself. Because if depression screams from every pore in your body and no one is willing to acknowledge it; does it even exist?