Depression: A purge

Three words I have come to dread,
more than any that could be said
‘How are you?’: and queries to that effect,
I turn my head and look away and change the subject.

See I would rather be in bed
and I would rather not have raised my hand
to brush my teeth today.
I would rather have not have dressed myself
and I haven’t looked in the mirror for days.

I paint myself on, my health, my face, my ailing courage;
my clothes become layers and layers of armour.
In which there are chinks,
Named Doubt, self loathing and disgust.

I practise and rehearse ‘normality’,
I try to smile but my lips crack and bleed.
I can taste blood, it feels like this final feat: To smile and lie,
will be the end of me.

But I cannot bare to see your face,
if in honesty the truth slips out in haste.
I cannot bare to hear your pity, your surprise,
your glib cheery advice.
I do not wish to open you up, for you to confide,
In me, an ally, things that you also hide.

It would destroy me!
If you should look me in the eye and FEEL me,
and hold me to you
so our hearts beat chest to chest
and soft warm breast to breast.
It awakens in me
a feeling that I could be real,
that I matter.
For such humility I will surely fall to the floor and weep, at your feet,
I cannot open the cracks from which the sadness seeps.
I cannot risk it falling out in one giant, messy heap.

We are all human, we all bleed the same,
but to reveal the beast before it is slain?
Is Social Death.

So I lie.
I say ‘I’m fine. I’ve been better, but I’m having a lovely time.’
I’ve had years of practise,
I’m like a pageant queen, a pro at this,
all teeth and glitter and sweetness and light
and air for brains to get me through this night.

You squeeze my arm,
throw a knowing glance,
but leave it,
You too are well rehearsed in this dance.
I sigh a tired sigh of relief, of shame, my breath quivers.
I die a little more inside each time.
So it’s easier to avoid the question,
the people, the situation, the interrogation.

Understand: I’m just trying to find the best of me.
and if that means hiding from the world?
Then just please let me be.
It’s not about running. It’s not about anger.
It’s not about rejecting the world
and regretting all that I have seen.. and been.

It’s about being real and saying ‘This is WHAT, but not WHO, I am right now.’
It’s about being vulnerable
and letting wave after wave of crushing self realisation wash over me,
Testing my own mortality,
resetting my boundaries,
It’s about safely setting free,
the raw beauty within me,
and self accepting and protecting who I AM,
not just projecting,
who I want to be.

This is witnessing my hopes and dreams,
Washed up and wilted
and re-assessed and second guessed.
It’s about owning your process.

It’s about saying I will not be defeated.
This is not the end of me.
But to carry on regardless is futile!
Saving face= denial.

I am not wallowing!
I have not been complacent or gleeful
as everything around me has fallen apart!
Don’t ever make the mistake in implying
that I am not doing what I should to help myself.
We all know not to take a drag on that,
or to eat that second slice,
We all know we have to exercise, compromise,
practise gratitude and charity as a way of life.
So excuse me whilst I shut the door,
on those words that patronise.

See, I am still alive,
I am fighting suicide…. and that will do.
That is enough for today!

So please don’t be offended if I smile weakly,
and turn down your offer of yoga and change of scene.
I am tired and I just need to sleep.

This is the stop and start, the stop and start,
the practising the art of trying to do things right,
By me.
Of failing and learning and reaching and clawing
and finding truth and honesty and dropping all the bullshit.
It’s about unleashing the rawness
that lives just beneath the surface,
the kind that makes you want to SCREAM.
I’m rearranging the furniture in my head.
And turning away from mindless distractions,
Excelling by nurturing myself.
By letting it all just ‘be.’

I do not live in the past, instead the past lives within me
and I must seek a new way to make peace, to find ease,
in accepting and not rejecting that hand that fate has dealt me,
I cannot own my future if I am unwilling to own my past!

I am coming to understand,
That what has been bestowed on me in misfortune,
was not deserved,
it was not earned,
and that is the cruel thing,
about life sometimes,
some people don’t earn it,
they chose not to learn from it,
and they float through,
they are just passing by;
At least on the outside.

But I just can’t!
the depth to which I feel
means I cannot help but cry.
I will carry the burdens of the world
on my shoulders
but beat myself up
for the weight I carry on my hips!
Such is my privileged life!

I will think long and hard to ensure,
that I mean what passes through my lips.
I will assess my opinions regularly,
and refresh my ideas accordingly.
For knowledge and wisdom are two separate things indeed.

I am learning to distinguish between opinion of self; and fact.
I’m practising the same kindness toward myself,
that I allow others without a second thought.
I am growing by not comparing myself to other people,
and saying
THIS is okay.
This DAY is okay.
This day IS..
it just IS.

I know this isn’t any kind of way to live permanently,
I know this isn’t the beginning or end of me, my destiny.
But I don’t want to be walking this same well worn path when I am 40!
I must make peace with myself.
I must be relentless on this quest of self discovery,
of recovery,
allow myself this luxury.
I must LISTEN to myself,
in a way I’ve never lent myself to such an indulgence before.
I must cultivate my roots in order to flourish.
I must first dig them up and expose them
and embrace their weakness
AND their strengths.

Gov bless the NHS and the welfare state,
for allowing me this mental health break.
I will be back and I will be stronger
and with me I will carry the wisdom that I have come to know,
I will reap and grow from all that I have sown.

I find myself wrapped up and held in the constant cushion of compassion,
mine and yours, forever more,
for ALL the people, who are struggling,
for those of us with the misfortune to feel this endless,
reckless abandonment;
of hope.

We CAN be rehabilitated,
set free back into the wild.
With prozac and self help mantras,
on good terms with our inner child!
But please let it be safe,
let it be on our own terms,
Guided nudges, good intentions,
loving hand holds are welcome of course,
But do not expect me to walk before I can crawl!

I have learned thus far:
That my outlook is not stagnant, it is ever changing and open to interpretation,
Anger is sometimes best served through the medium of dancing in the face of adversity,
rather than on the face of your adversary.

EVERY tear is cleansing,
It is your pain trickling from you and wearing down your defences,
a flood that brings with it, sweet release,
no matter how trivial or pointless it feels,
be self indulgent whilst the gates of emotion are open.
Because you never know when you will find yourself empty once more.

Do not fill the empty void with crap,
let it sit, let it act as a filter, let it dilute your grief,
enjoy the calm,
before the inevitable storm.

Be whimsical!
Not everything should be taken as seriously as your recovery.
Live safely but playfully.
Curiosity is a sign of life.
Listen to that curious voice within no matter how quiet,
and welcome its hunger as a sign that you still care.
Even if its just a little bit.

I am learning to accept that my limitations are as fluid as my feelings.
That nothing is final, not even death,
that this too shall pass,
so when you’re trudging through the treacle like sludge of despair
and you feel almost content at the idea of suicide being an option…
remind yourself that you just never know what change might occur,
what might stir,
inside you; A beam of light, of clear insight,
a really great wank, a breath of fresh air,
a picture, a sound, a chocolate eclair,
A (((HUG)))
or a friendly smile and a cup of camomile
with an old friend who remembers you from ‘before the war.’
And please note that 2 o’clock in the morning is ALWAYS the wrong time to start asking ‘what am I going to do with my life?’

Learn to say each day that what is eating at me, this cloud,
it is not WHO I am!
and it is unfair and it isn’t right but I will fight
even if sometimes it feels like battling myself.
Sometimes you have to stand side by side with The Darkness
and play football together on no man’s land
in your own secret truce;
and repeat the well worn truth,
I AM Okay,
I am ….
I just AM.
And that’s okay.

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