Tag Archives: Depression

The Dark Chasms

I have walked away from the dark chasms
have left them behind
I kick them away from my mind
when their dark entrance beckons me to enter
I cannot hesitate for a moment
there is no place for me there
These shadows of misery
are just beyond the green grasses
like a hideous painting
hanging above the kitchen table
Like the whispers of voices from inside
that are not your own
Tear-soaked pillows, shattered porcelain
and torn photographs strewn about its
cavernous corners
Every day unvisited
a growth of heavy underbrush overtakes
the jutted opening
A sign from the Light
The slow decay of the dark.

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A Conversation with Myself

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“I don’t want to adult today.”

“Why not?”

“I just don’t feel like it.”

“Well that’s not a good excuse. I don’t feel like doing a lot of things.”

“But I just don’t wanna!”

“Not good enough.”

“I want someone to take care of me today. Make me breakfast. Serve it to me. Give me big hugs all day. Do my laundry. Rub my feet.”

“Not gonna happen.”

“Hmmffff. I know.”

“Well?”

“Well what?”

“Well what are you going to do now?”

“Sit here and sulk. Stare at the blank TV screen. Not work out. Not write. Not talk to anyone. I don’t want to talk to anyone today. I don’t want to go to the grocery. I don’t want to adult today.”

“Put your big girl panties on and do it. DO IT!”

“Alright! Stop yelling at me.”

“I’m not yelling. I’m motivating.”

“Ugh.”

“Alright. I’m gonna write. I’ll get up and go to the computer.”

“Good!”

“But I don’t know what to write. I know what I want to write. But I don’t know if I should. I don’t like putting myself out there.”

“Come on. You know how it is. Any artist has to put themselves out there to share his craft or else it is wasted. And it balls up inside and has nowhere to go.”

“I know.”

“So start small. Just write. First thing that comes to mind. Who cares?”

“You’re right. Ok. I’ll put my big girl panties on. I’ll put my big girl panties on. And I’ll write about our conversation.”

“That’s good!”

“Ok I’m doing it now.”

“Great.”

“But I still don’t want to adult today.”

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Facebook Depresses Me

I took a 5 month hiatus from Facebook a while back. For various reasons, one being I just didn’t need or want my personal life spilled out there for everyone to see, I needed to get “off the grid” FB style.

Coerced by coworkers to get in the loop of our funny office photos I recently got back on.

Immediately two comments popped up. Glad you’re back! They read. Wow I hadn’t realized I’d been missed.

I have been slow to get back into the trappings of Facebook. And I don’t think I’ll ever have the love affair (or perhaps it was just obsession) I once had. And thank goodness. Because there were so many times after I spent 45 minutes trolling my news feed I would walk away with this heavy and negative feeling in my soul. These things did not add happiness to my life:

Photos of me two years ago. Young and fit. Damn I’ve aged.

Ridiculously happy families/couples.

People I never see anymore.

Family I lost touch with.

Babies I didn’t know people had.

Birthdays I missed.

Extravagant meals which make my shitty excuse for dinner depressing and demoralizing.

Movies/TV shows/news/celebrities I know nothing about because I live in my own self-imposed hibernation.

Political rants from friends I thought were more open and accepting.

And for those reasons I do not spend endless wasted minutes watching to see what everyone else is doing or saying while I should be on WordPress tapping into my creative soul! Or outside listening to the birds sing and watching the tree limbs sway. Or engaging with the person in front of me instead of my face stuck in my phone.

But I am not a total begrudged hater. Facebook does have its positives. Maybe I shouldn’t be blaming Facebook. I mean what did Facebook do but merely exist? Just trying to connect people and ideas and photos and lives? These are the reasons I still have an account:

I get to see photos of my nephews living their lives. Without this I would not have such a sweet visual insight into their daily/weekly lives.

All my awesome high school and college friends and the success of their creative endeavors.

The first neighbor I can ever remember and how she still has those curly locks and now a family and house of her own.

That friends and family alike are still out there, breathing, baring their souls or just sharing a recipe.

I can spend as little or as much time on Facebook as I wish. No one is force cramming it down my throat. It is my choice. So I choose to troll occasionally. And not deem it necessary to post every thought I have or every place I go. And to brag about my kid or not. And to try to take away the things that make me smile. And the things that leave a heavy space will just have to be let go and float away with all the other negativity that does not have a place here.

facebook depression

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A Bright Mind

The mind–
not always a happy place
It has been taken over
by the dark rumble
of mother nature’s
mocking morning
And echoes of human
mockery
mistaking smiles for
unwelcoming invitations
But perception is reality
and my castle made of sand
my muscles flaccid
But still here I stand
I can’t cower in the corner
let the rumble take me over
although when that storm cell
passed through last night
I imagined it sucked me up
into it
and twirled me around
spinning in its cleansing,
forgiving arms
then spat me out
to be whole again
to let the light back in
to tear the muscles
into stronger flesh
to rid the mind of the rumble
the echoes
the doubt
bringing about truthful smiles
a stone castle
gentle echoes
open heart
and bright mind.

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The Ultimate Duel

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Draw your sword
it is time to fight
to rise above 
the madness of the mind
Fear is crippling 
hopelessness death
and they creep so stealthily
surprise surprise
But do not cower in the corner
Parry 
Confront
Attack
And if you find
you are on your knees
stand up and do it again
Draw your sword
it is time to fight
it has always been
For the battle between
a human's ears
is the ultimate
duel.

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The Charm in the Unsightly

There’s this back of a building I pass on my morning bike ride that makes me smile. Even though the dull white paint is chipped and molded and weeds flank the edges there is something poetic about it. But I’ll have to give its spray paint graffiti the credit. Right next to a red, boyishly printed “I love Julie” there’s “Life is Beautiful” in sweeping purple letters. On one of my rides I thought to stop and take a photo in case I need this affirmation when I’m not pumping the pedals on my favorite trail.

I’ve thought of this space very often. Who is the artist who thought to display this work? What was their motivation? I give them a nod and thank you to the atmosphere when I pass by.

Today the graffiti was gone.

The building was coated in a sandy beige that gleamed in the morning sun. Even the weeds were trimmed. I’m sure the owner of the building meant well while refreshing its facade. But I wasn’t too happy about it.

Blank Space

Don’t get me wrong. I love a manicured landscape, fresh paint, neatness, organization. But some things have more character when they aren’t, well, perfect.

Take people for instance. I’ve often said if you put all my ex-boyfriends in a row you might think you’re at the circus. And that’s not because I dated a bearded lady. I guess I’ve found attractiveness in all kinds. I never thought Tom Cruise was particularly hot. He’s just too damn normal. Give me a guy with a crooked (but clean) tooth, an unruly brow, or a laugh that makes the walls vibrate.

In college I had this dull and depressing drive from home to classes. Especially in the rainy winter. I saw no beauty in anything around me. My eyes only saw the dark, the dead, the sad. There have been other times in my life when this negative thinking took precedence over the glass-is-half-full mentality. Depression and anxiety were at their height. I think it all goes hand in hand. And even if I saw the most gorgeous of artwork on a wall in an alley I would not have recognized its charm.

My New Year’s resolution for 2014 was to continue to see the world in wonder instead of fear. So far, so good. Some of us have to train our brains to think this way. I’ve been in this training for many many months now. I sometimes get engulfed in the unsightliness of my surroundings when the dopamine is barely dripping. And I don’t live in an ugly place. But there is fear and unattractiveness all around if that is what you see. There may have even been times I thought a scarred Keanu Reeves wasn’t so hot. Okay, yeah, not really.

A field of weeds brings forth a bright yellow dandelion. A strip mall includes a shop of happy Vietnamese ladies eager to refresh tired tootsies. A junk yard is a photo-op. A scribble of tasteful graffiti is a mantra burned into a retrained brain.

And Julie, I’m sure you’re still loved. Just as life is still beautiful.

Beautiful Graffiti

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Loose Change

Sometimes I wake up with a heaviness in my heart. It could be the previous night’s dream. It could be some energy in the world that is off-kilter. It could be an argument I had or dwelling on mistakes I made. It could be that my kid is growing up too fast. It could be all these things. Disturbances. Change. I don’t do change well.

Yesterday I found a penny at the bottom of the washing machine. Loose change from one of our pockets. Now washed and shiny. I threw it in the garbage. I don’t make a habit of tossing anything that can be used again. I think I was just in robot mode.

My mom-in-law is moving to another state today. End of an era. Bittersweet. I will most certainly write a post about it.

Our favorite crossing guard had to retire for health reasons. The morning bike ride is not the same.

My favorite kickboxing partner is joining the Navy. Who will I make goofy faces at while we do the warm-ups?

I can cry about this heaviness, these changes, and maybe I have. Maybe the other day I had a full-out bawl session on a fishing pier while listening to The Cure on my iPod and watching the pelicans glide in the sky. Maybe I cried so hard and so much my tears didn’t taste like salt anymore.

The heaviness subsided as it usually does with a good cry. But there is always space for it there to come back. My heart has so much room yet it’s bursting at the proverbial pericardium. And maybe that’s what I was crying about most. “This is not a curse,” I can hear some of you say. And perhaps it isn’t. Perhaps it’s a gift. And with the loving comes the hurting. And with the change comes the progress.

My mom-in-law will get even more of the specialized attention she demands after she moves. The crossing guard can begin to repair her lungs now that she’s not breathing in automobile exhaust. My favorite kickboxing partner will move on to a new stage and adventure in her life and see and do things I can barely imagine.

And as for all these other occurrences and disturbances in life well, that is just what it is. Life.

Next time I find a penny I will put it with the other loose change. I’ll save it until it needs to be exchanged. And I’ll let it slip through my fingers leaving its seasoned metallic scent behind.

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Just a Shadow?

shadow

This morning on my chilly bike ride I saw her.  Again.  She is usually near the park, but today she was a bit farther north, just before the tunnel.

On happy days I ignore her dark, dead eyes then roll my own bright blues after I pass her.  She never says hello, never a word.  I don’t know how it is humanly possible for someone to walk that slow and not fall.  Among the bikers and joggers and roller bladers and parents pushing strollers there she moves at a snail’s pace.  Except a snail has a purpose behind its travel.  I gave up smiling and saying good morning to her long ago.  And those hats!  A different one every day.  Neither too fancy nor too casual, yet totally impractical to moving about on the trail.

And her clothing.  It’s as if she’s dressed for a day at an open market someplace I’ve never been but only seen on TV.  Long, flowy skirts and tunics.  Even when it is sweltering outside (which it is here half the year) her entire average-sized body is fully covered.

But it’s not just her outward appearance that shakes me.  It’s what I feel when I see her.

I know when she is up ahead on the trail.  Not just because of the cadence of her mechanical walking, but because of the energy.  Whatever I am feeling I know she senses.  On my happy days I try to send her light or at least surround myself with irradiation so she may become momentarily blinded.  But when I pass her with this glow she does not falter.  glow

On my sad days (which thank god are not often anymore) I also avert my eyes to hers.  But I try not to direct this melancholy towards her.  Instead I feel she knows this.  She gives no solace yet she takes no energy.

But this morning she was not walking.  I saw up ahead a figure standing beside the tunnel, looking out onto the horizon.  I thought to myself what a beautiful photograph that would be.  The figure posed better than you could tell a model to pose while looking outward.  A shadow before it stretching out toward the early morning sun.  When I came closer I saw that it was her.  And like usual when I see her there is no one else around.

And like usual she did not look at me, did not speak a word, did not even seem to be breathing.

I biked past and just a tad more north where I always turn around and grab my water bottle from its nest underneath my ripped, cushioned seat.  When I got back to the tunnel she was gone.  I didn’t even see her anywhere else on the trail as I made my way back towards home, cold sweat on my forehead I had to wipe off on my little sissy Florida gloves.  tunnel

I have always wondered if she is a ghost.  I could ask one of my occasional biking companions about her but she is never there when I have company.  And to be honest I don’t really want to know.  She is my mirror.  Although unsettling, she reminds me to keep peddling and singing and sweating no matter what dark eyes try to pierce inside.

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Standing on the Edge of a Dream

sunset

Standing on the edge of a dream
with my eyes closed
and I see myself
spinning in the summer wind
Everything I've ever seen
and everyone I've ever known
are all trapped in a photograph
like they will never be again
Laughter and kisses of yesterday
frozen forever
Melt my tomorrow
awaken me to my happy eternity

–Written during one of my darkest hours, or so it seemed at the time. I was alone, working three jobs, and suffering PMS and depression.
I was consumed with myself and the past. Poetry always helped me trudge through.
Today I read about a fellow blogger’s horrific loss and this reminded me of him.
Now this is his suffering. My heart goes out to you.

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