“You have such
a way with words.”
he says.

“Only the ones
that make their way
to you.”
I profess.

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What I Need You To Know About My Friend, Depression

My Depression is my friend. I say that not because it’s always the best company, but because it is there when you are not. When you don’t know, when you don’t ask, when you don’t want to see me during my fits of rage or I’m functioning while I’m on my shittiest behaviour. It rears it’s head when he feels like I need company. It is with me during my darkest hour, my most welcome guest.

Sometimes, it whispers in the softest voice, how I should join him in the dark. It tells me to see the good in it and convinces me until I’m comfortable that I seek it out myself. Sometimes, it is a raging storm, rocking me to my foundation, while, with shaking hands, knuckles turned completely white, I grasp the flattest of surfaces to ground me.

My Depression knows no religion, wealth, nor education. I could go to Church everyday but my depression travels with me, bend my knees in prayer and it prays right along with me. I could have all the money in the world, but depression doesn’t spend it like me. The value of currency does not affect it. My education could give me all the titles but my depression can strip everything I know in a heartbeat when someone tells me I am not good enough.

I am not contagious.

I can be your ultimate test in patience and commitment. If you tell me you’re in it for the long haul, I won’t be offended if you give up and decide to leave. I live with myself, I’m stuck with me, and I don’t love myself all the time. On occasion, I want to leave me, too, if it is even an option. Don’t tell me you’re my friend if I come to you to vent, if I come to you because I just want to sit beside you, but you’re not having it because you’re either tired of me or you’re having a bad time yourself. Don’t take it out on me. Be honest with me, I can take it. But please, please, don’t pretend you’re okay when you’re not and you can’t be around me.

Tough love is good but know when to dish it out.

My depression is not cured by money, gifts, a pint of ice cream, a good fuck, and you telling me to ‘get over it’.

I am fragile. Sometimes, I fall apart unknowingly. When depression comes to visit me, I am suddenly struck with so much force it knocks the wind out of my lungs. The worst thing you can do is to undervalue my problems. Just because I have an education or that someone else is having it worse than me, doesn’t make my problems any less a problem. I KNOW someone will always have it worse.

PLEASE DO NOT TELL ME I DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE DEPRESSED.

MY BRAIN DOES NOT KNOW THAT.

MY DEPRESSION DOES NOT UNDERSTAND THAT.

YOU.ARE.NOT.HELPING.NOR.MAKING.THINGS.BETTER.

Joe

I wasn’t honest with you. You asked me if I wanted to get coffee with you sometime but I said I stopped drinking coffee 3 years ago. When you asked me why, I had two choices to answer that – lie or tell you the truth. It was so much easier to lie and just tell you how I hate that coffee stains my teeth and gives me a bad case of the jitters.

You didn’t know I was lying. You didn’t even suspect. I guess, my theatre training really got me far in the game of lies. I’m almost always winning.

I’m so tired of losing. I’ve lost you because we didn’t fight for each other hard enough. Sometimes, I feel like I’m losing my battle with coffee, too. Why am I denying myself something I really love? Why did I even go cold turkey? It’s just coffee. Right?

I haven’t had soda in years, I’ve been sober from alcohol longer than I have been with coffee.

When my favourite uncle passed away, I wanted to call you up so badly. Let you know. He really liked you and I know you enjoyed his company as much. But I couldn’t call you because I realized if I did, I’d just fall back into the habit of seeking you out whenever I needed comfort. You were so good at that. We were so good with walking hand in hand, going into the dark and coming out brighter than when we came in.

Even through all the good, it wasn’t enough.

I went into a coffee shop we’ve never been to together. The whole place just smelled liked the best brew in the world. I ordered my first cup of coffee in a year. When I got to a table, I sat down, put the mug in front of me and just stared at it for a good long moment. My heart hurt so bad. My uncle is gone and the void he left was so huge that I wanted to just say ‘fuck it all’. Rebel against the unfairness of the universe by chugging every last drop of coffee in that mug. To hell with all this ‘no more coffee’ bullshit. I grabbed the handle of my mug, the familiar warmth was the kind of comfort I needed. I tried to raise it, but I couldn’t. I left feeling even more lost.

So, I decided I had to give up everything I associated with you if I wanted to move forward.

Coffee included.

You see, when I told you I hate that coffee stains my teeth, I wasn’t lying about it because I know I could always just visit the dentist.

It was you. You’re the stain I wanted out because that stain is a reminder of everything that went wrong, of everything I’ve lost. You’re the caffeine in my blood that gives me jitters even after you’re long gone.

One day, I’m going to get myself a cup of joe without thinking about you. I’m going to take my first sip and it will be like meeting an old childhood friend.

As a young girl,
who wore her heart
on her sleeves,
I’ve placed
trust in every
palm that
was held before me.

I drove out, given, taken
laughter where it suited.

My dreams were stories
I openly told people
who would lend me their ears.
In return, they treated them
as if they were gifts
they were too eager
to receive.

The questions I had
were met with answers
as if my life and theirs
depended on them.

The thrill of growing up
and knowing my words
could pull people
like magnets was a gift
I took for granted.

I discovered that words,
that left the tongue,
and fell on ears
and caught by eyes,
was like a daisy,
plucked from the roots,
never to bloom again
from the earth,
but would forever
seek residence
in the heart and
foster in the mind.

I found that words
could be both –
the reddest of roses
and sharpest of thorns.

Slowly, unknowingly,
the sleeves of my shirts grew longer.
Open and willing palms turned into
clenched fists.
laughter was unlike the oxygen
I breathed.
it was a rare stone,
worked hard for,
slaved over,
only to find out,
on occasion that
they were fake.

(I doled out laughter and smiles
as if I had them in abundance
to get me in and out of
situations that suited me.)

I didn’t know.
I was already a player
in the game of pretend
they called ‘adulthood’,
which I thought was a myth,
but all too well,
discovered, bruised,
burnt, that no one plays
this game willingly,
but we’re thrust upon it,
pretending to know the rules
from the get-go.

no wonder when I was a child,
the adults craved
the company of the naive girl.
realization struck me –
the innocence of a child,
is unlike the innocence
of an adult.
the innocence of a grown up,
is a weapon of destruction,
whereas to a child,
it is a shield of comfort.
It is endless possibility and hope
until it is broken down
by messy hands
and clumsy tongues.
but rebuilt with the will
and strength formed from
years of falling down.

This is my secret place.
This is where I hide from
the chaos of the world.
This is where peace is sought,
not often caught,
but when found,
solitude.

This is my secret place.
This is where I find
the beauty in chaos.
This place is mostly safe,
not always though.
Because thoughts,
sometimes,
are dangerous.

When dust settles,
there, in my secret place,
I gather all the ghosts
that haunt me.
Greet them.
Bid them,
until then,
rest.