Depression’s Shadow

National Poetry Month Day 10:

Depression’s Shadow

Sadness,
I am nothing.

Devoid,
I stand alone.

Empty,
I grasp for hope.

Hopeless,
Tears fill my heart’s ocean.

Sleep,
An endless slumber awaits.

Pointless,
This is life.

Self loathing,
So much hate.

Pain,
Just make it stop.

Apathy,
Why should I care?

Breathless,
Why should I breathe?

Lifeless,
Why should I live?

My soul,
It is in want of meaning.

Crying out,
Desperate for the end.

Yet, a shadow lurks
Beyond the last tear,
Beyond day’s old pillow impressions.

A shadow,
A glimmer
Where hope yet lies
Cast when the light of eyes
Had yet to dim.

Maybe tomorrow I shall grasp it
And make it a part of me.
But for tonight,
Tonight I shall close my eyes
And wait;
Wait for the nothing.

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Spring Healing

Spring Healing
Wounds, inflicted by self and by society
seethe just beneath my skin
What may heal my unseen scars?
Chemical concoctions and psychiatric remedies?
Na, those only touch the surface skein
True healing comes from words arranged on a page
Prose and poetry, songs from the soul
From capturing light paintings
transforming the natural world
Into wondrous canvas hangings
From breathing the night air
slow and steady walking the neighborhood
enjoying the tiny pinpoints of light
From living, and living well
despite my many illnesses
From this may healing commence

Season of the Haikus

Sadness overwhelms
Dripping from branches of my heart
Winter remains strong
Exuberance is
Bright sunshine upon my brow
Spring brings the thaw
Anxious energy
A vine growing on my spine
Summer’s hot like fire
My mental illness
Becomes smaller as time grows
Autumn’s acceptance

Duo

Her lips soft, a flower
I drink full of her chalice
Thighs enjoined
Hands clasped
Fingers caress
Breath captured
Souls raptured in Esctacy
His lips hard, a rock
I drink full of his power
Thighs enjoined
Hands embraced
Fingers clench
Breath shared
Souls entwined in flight
Her love. His love.
I drink full of the divine
Hearts beat fast
No doubts
No shame
No fear
Love, just love

Dear Father

Dear Father
Oh Father,
I see you pour that drink, your chosen elixir
Just one more you say,
as your hands tremble on the bottle.
Military special, pure amber whiskey
But this is no self love
It’s self destruction
enabled with love
Do you remember when
you forgot the world
So enraptured in your drink
You forgot to pay the mortgage?
Every time I rode with you,
I looked for the opaque 7up glass
Filled with iced amber liquid
and prayed police would look the other way.
I never remember a time
when your glass wasn’t full.
Oh, you’d promise an empty glass
innumerable times.
Do you remember when
you ran into the coast guard
And my 17 yr old self
had to pick you up from jail?
Then it was mandatory AA meetings
and a pledge to cut back,
but that only lasted
for just a little while.
Even when the cancer consumed your body
The cravings demanded answer
So one of us would
hold the glass to your lips.
I don’t know what was worse for you
The cancer or the addiction
Both all consuming
and deadly
Oh Father,
Even though you’re gone,
I hope you know that you were loved
despite your horrible illness
You were never your addiction
Even though it was a part of you,
We remember the steadfast person,
And will forever cherish those memories

B52, Baker Act

B 52, Baker Act

4:00pm, ambulance ride
The order of white knights saves the day

4:30pm, hospital waiting room
I stare at my lacerated wrists in a daze

8:00pm, evaluation
The doctor determines that I’m a danger to myself.

8:30pm, admission
Psych techs escort me beyond a locked door

9:00pm, sleep
I fall into a deep slumber, the first in three nights

7:00am, nurse turns on light
Time for vitals

7:30am, get dressed
Don’t wear any underwire or strings

8:00am, breakfast
grits and eggs yet again

8:30am, medication
I swallow the pills like a good patient.

9:00am, music therapy
Let’s sing along to, “I’ll survive,” and other songs.

9:30am, meet with doctor
Affirm the retreat of hallucinations

11:00am, psychotherapy
Analyze meditation techniques; what a snooze.

12:00pm, lunch
Escape the unit for a trip to the cafeteria

12:30pm, lunch meds
More meds to keep the anxiety at bay

1:00pm, art therapy
Today we are covering journals

2:00pm, psychotherapy (again)
I get to radically accept that my mental illness is real

3:00pm, rest time
It’s shift change on the ward

3:30pm, read time
How many reader’s digest can I read?

4:00pm, outside time
Run around in the courtyard like a chicken with its head cut off

4:30pm, meet with social worker
Figure out a date of release, hope it’s soon.

5:00pm, dinner time
They really feed us well. Chicken or salad?

5:30, dinner meds
Cause one must take some meds with food

6:00pm, psychotherapy group (for the third time)
DBT strategies for emotional regulation, cause I’m disregulated.

6:30pm, visitation
Always hoped for, but never expected. 2 visitors today.

8:00pm, snack time
popcorn and yogurt, oh my!

8:30pm, night meds
Cause some meds make you sleepy.

9:00pm, tv time
All good patients gather around the screen

9:30pm, bed time
Time to stare at the curtains and make devious plans

10:00pm, pacing time
Cause you don’t want to carry out those plans. Lap 1, lap 2…lap100

11:00pm, sleep
Another night on the unit, how many more, who can say?

Stigma

Stigma
I see phantoms where there are none.
“You must be demon possessed,”
The pastor said.
“Let’s consult an exorcist”
I told my boss I had bipolar disorder.
“She must be unreliable,”
He thought.
And didn’t renew my contract.
The stranger pointed
“She must be dangerous,”
She said
As if I carried a gun or knife.
From inside myself, a tiny voice:
“I feel bad so I must be bad.”
Overwhelmed with shame,
I hid my differentness.
Stigma, a virus spreading
across America
The antidote: Empathy, compassion.
Your voice can spread the cure.