Antonella Diacono wrote this letter two days before her suicide, on November 28, 2017. She was thirteen years old.

The no profit association Anto Paninabella was created by her parents and friends, to raise awareness of the stigma associated with depression and psychological pain, and to help kids and educators to prevent this tragedy from happening again.

Domenico Diacono

I feel like I’m writing a diary, not a book.
No one will ever read it, and my thoughts…they will be alone.
Today I feel quite depressed.
The weight of being alive pours over my bones and squeezes my brain like a sponge.
Am I conscious? But what is consciousness? I have no idea. Maybe it can be seen as an awareness. But awareness of what?
Of being alive? Right now, I feel more dead than Michael Jackson in Thriller.
And then of what? What is the concept of life itself?

Sometimes I feel suffocated by indifference and derision and a desire to hide in the deepest corners of my being begins in me.
Sometimes, I try to smile and make jokes, but I am aware that I am only a blank mask, exhausted by the myriad of emotions that I have always carried with me and that have only ended up hurt me. By now, behind that mask, there is nothing.

There is no pain.

There is no joy.

There is only an enormous emptiness that I strive to fill day by day with experiences and smiles, but that, like a leaky bucket, lets everything flow out, making all my efforts useless.

I live every day as if it was the last one, trying to forget the future as if it was something distant and unreachable, I live second by second and I destroy myself in this awareness.

Piece by piece my mind destroys itself, finding relief only in senseless actions which I am deprived of for my own sake, but without which I live a life in perpetual isolation.

I still take refuge in stories with a happy ending, deluding myself that one day I will have my happiness, too.
I have always been good at lying to myself.

Consoled, I see the pieces of my miserable self-esteem shattering into even smaller and smaller bits when people let their gaze wander over me with an amused air, severe and unfair judges.

Because there is a substantial difference between me and the characters I admire. They are intelligent, sometimes strong, sometimes tender, different, and they all have a quality to admire.

In reality, I am not like a comic book character. I am not intelligent. I am not athletic. I am neither nice nor beautiful. But I am different.

I am not different in the way that makes people open their eyes wide with wonder and admiration.

My classmates call me strange. Because I don’t play with
Because I am smart but not cultured.
Because I do not open up to others and I am always alone.
Because I love silence in a world which NEVER stops making noise.

The list could go on.
Because I dream big even though I’m small and insignificant.
Because I wear baggy t-shirts and sweaters with singular textures.
Because I laugh at jokes even if I don’t like them and I feel bad when others don’t consider me.

Because I am a silhouette in the background of others’ lives, but especially in mine.

I don’t want.
I don’t want to die.
I don’t want to die alone.

“Don’t leave me!” I scream every night to someone who is not there and who has never been there.

When my heroes will die and fairy tales and dreams will no longer be enough to hold up what is left of me, what will happen?

Unanswered questions, screamed in an empty space where my words collide, hurting my ears, mind, heart and eyes.

Never shed tears which flock to the edge of the precipice waiting to be freed, but as prisoners of that cruel commander who is pride, they are forced to pile up on each other, patient, but eager for freedom.

Recognizing ourselves in mirror fragments hurts, and the scream that I give out, that we who continue to survive in a world that sees us as mistakes, give out, “I don’t care, I’m fine, the laughs behind my back don’t hurt, I am used to that,” is just a lie inflated with unspoken words.

Of course, it hurts. Of course, we suffer. I am sure that those who judge and laugh behind our backs have never suffered the same treatment or would keep their mouths shut.

The insults whispered with a classmate, among school desks or shouted at the whole world, slice through the skin and do not go away without understanding and tenderness.

But who would like to give his love to someone who has engraved on his forehead stupid, fat, dumb, useless? No matter how touching the stories are, in which the male or female protagonists find people capable of helping and loving them as they are, unfortunately in reality it doesn’t work like that.

Don’t you believe it? Do you think that there is someone for everyone, somewhere?

Well then try and take the first step, to talk to the class dork, or to the ugly guy who nobody likes.

Go against the assumptions and when they turn out to be correct, keep digging, because what other people think of us hangs on like a second skin.
If everyone tells you since you were a child that you are a monster you end up becoming one.

And then FIGHT!

Won’t you do that, will you?

As I thought.

And although I would not like to delude myself that at least someone after reading these lines reflects and stops to think of the evil he does or suffers, I can’t help hoping.

For all the lonely, apathetic and sad people I just want to share a message.

You are not the only ones to suffer.
You are not alone.

I want to delude myself, I want to believe, I want to whisper and then YELL TO THIS FUCKING WORLD THAT NO.

It hasn’t completely knocked me down yet. And it won’t succeed so easily.

Notes of the depressed

Hey! Hi…
Here is Panina (Sandwich Girl).
This… is a small outburst written in a moment of extraordinary tiredness, a small moment of chaotic quiet.
I know that I am not a sensational writer and I am sorry if I annoy the world with everything I write.
But the words are true. They are real.

This writing is a union between two events that made me think a lot: the day honoring the elimination of violence against women on Saturday and the new video dubbed by “Orion–web dubbing” that has been released today (which are simply wonderful).

My Italian teacher, then yesterday, scolded one of my classmates because she doesn’t study enough, and I was a bit sorry because I know what that means.
Suddenly, however, she stopped and asked the meaning of the pink brooch that my classmate (who I will call Domitilla) was wearing on her chest.
She answered saying that she had bought it from students who were collecting money to donate to a center for the elimination of violence against women, and to do this they were selling those little brooches.

The Prof. looked at Domitilla and said “Domitilla (she didn’t really say Domitilla), that brooch has a beautiful value and certainly gives you credit, but do you know why women especially have been subject to the will of the man for so long with no possibility of appeal? Because they were considered simple tools to make children, and for this reason strong women fought in the name of the right to have their own opinions, to be seen as real people and not as objects, to go to school. And still not all countries in the world have achieved this very important milestone. By not studying, you are throwing away this opportunity so then you do not need a little brooch to demonstrate your pain at these injustices if you lack facts.”

And then I did not listen to her anymore because she bored me. Today, however, seeing that video and focusing in 100% on the voice of Gian while he was screaming “THEY WERE WRONG!”, made me think that I have screamed many times, too.

It’s just that sometimes it is necessary to hope that someone out there suffers as much as I do. It helps not to feel lonely, even when your best friend in real life is the puppet you’ve been carrying around since you were a child, and the ones in your mind are representations of what for you is the Ying and the Yang, with faces taken from video game characters.

Even then if I close my eyes, I can think that maybe there is some hope, even for someone like me…

Traduzione a cura di Marianna La Rocca e Rachael Garner

Join us in our fight against the stigma!

Antonella two days before her death

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