I feel like anyone reading my NaNo novel, Lady of Rain, would be seriously worried about me. So, disclaimer: I am, as far as I know, not depressed. I do, however, have friends who are and know people who are like Ruth. I talked to them about this scene, trying to get it as accurate as I could so that I might portray Ruth’s depression as accurately as possible. I feel as though emotional disorders are underrepresented in YA, and I hope that this helps. If anyone feels as though this is not accurate, or wants to talk about anything related to this scene, please feel free to contact me via the comments or by DMing me on Twitter or Instagram. I am always open to talking with people online, and if you ever need a virtual hug and/or virtual chocolate, or just someone to listen, I am free!
The others left to go walk in the woods, but I made an excuse to stay back- I wasn’t feeling great. Which was true. My stomach was roiling, my thoughts tumbling over each other and my mind sinking into that familiar pit of despair.
As soon as they were gone, I stood from the chair I’d been sitting in. I could see my reflection, why Levi had looked back with worry in his eyes- I was ghostly pale, my eyes and mouth standing out starkly against the white of the rest of my face. Without the others there, my pain was naked, my eyes whirling with the agony of the weight of my world’s sins- not to mention every other problem I’d had before. Maybe I’d stopped myself before, but I’d go mad if I didn’t do it again.
Regretting every step, telling myself to stop, I walked with wobbly legs into the kitchen. I pulled out drawer after drawer, finding spoons and cups and then, at last, the knives. I pulled out one, fingering the blade before setting it to my skin. My mind screamed at me, telling me to stop, but I couldn’t. I needed the release, the physical pain to focus on instead of the mental.
As the blood welled up on my forearm, the bliss swept over me. I did it again, three times, making a trio of red lines as my heart begin to race and my mind grew fuzzier. The regret swept over me as it always did, nausea rising, but I ignored it, sliding down to sit on the floor and leaning against the cabinets.
But I jumped to hear the door bang open and footsteps pound into the house. I scrambled, trying to pull down my sleeve and hide the knife but not before Levi appeared in the doorway. His face fell, the disappointment with me clear in his eyes. My still-rapidly beating heart dropped. “Ruth,” he murmured, his voice cracking. “How could you.”
I buried my face in my hands, ignoring the blood now dripping onto my jeans. Wave after wave of self-loathing crashed down on me, and a sob escaped my mouth.
His voice was anguished, rising higher with every word. “Aila didn’t want to die. She didn’t want to die, but she did. And now I find you here with a knife in your hand and new cuts on your arms, and what am I supposed to think?”
I said nothing, forcing down another sob.
“It hurts. It hurts a lot.”
I lifted my head, tears leaking from my eyes and running down my face. “I want to die,” I admitted, my own voice catching. “But I also don’t. I want to help you. I want to find a new life. But this… this venture is hitting too close to home for me to feel any real comfort. So this helps me forget.”
“It’s a drug, then.”
I nodded slowly. “I’m addicted to my own self-destruction.” I wiped my nose on my sleeve, aware of how childish it was and almost laughing at the irony of it. A childish action, stemming from such a mature idea. I gave in, chuckling humorlessly, the tears still falling as I laughed. “I don’t want to die so I cut myself and solve that problem. But look at this!” I pulled up my other sleeve, baring the scars once more, white lines mixing with the new red ones. “I hate them and yet I cannot stop myself from giving them to myself. It is my only release, and if I don’t have this I will not be able to handle it anymore.” The laughs stopped, leaving only great sobs that shook my body and made me curl up, lying on my side on the floor and hugging my knees to my chest.
“You’re my friend, Ruth.” His voice was gentler. He crouched, reaching out to touch my shoulder. “Here, put your arms around my neck.” Like an obedient child I did, and picked me up, sitting me on the counter. One hand on my knee, he reached out and opened a drawer. He pulled out a roll of gauze. Gently he tugged my wrist away from where I had clutched it to myself, and he rubbed a thin liquid into the cuts before wrapping them. The liquid burned, but he held my arm so I didn’t move. “Come on,” he said, and he picked me up again.
When I was settled into the nest of blankets Elian had set up for his bed in the closet, he turned to leave. “Why are you doing this?” I burst out.
He turned, pulling a stool out so he could sit next to me. He took a deep breath. “Mara isn’t going to be so little forever. I need to learn how to be her father.”
My lips stretched into what I hoped was a sardonic smile. “And you think that by caring for me, you can figure out how to be a good dad? They’re just scratches.”
“Yeah, I know.” He seemed to ignore the sarcasm. “Physically, they are. But some wounds aren’t just skin-deep.” I closed my eyes, hoping that he’d leave and hoping that he’d stay. I felt his lips on my forehead. “Get some rest.”
The door shut.
I love Levi and Ruth’s relationship at this point… they’re both hurting so much and helping each other through the pain, but they are also such hypocrites… gosh darn it, guys, STAHP. But they’re adorable. And no, they are not a couple. They are friends. But with Ruth’s depression and Levi’s grief/minor PTSD, they have quite a few issues to work out together.
And again, if you ever need someone to talk to, drop me a line and I promise I’ll respond! Please let me know if I need to change anything in this to make it more accurate, I really want this to correctly depict depression and not disrespect anyone.