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TBH

**This has been on my drafts for some time now, but I finally feel like sharing.**

Don’t tell me to “just” think positive. “Just” build myself a routine, “just” socialize more, “just” change my perspective on things, “just” give it time.
There is nothing *just* about depression.

“Just” getting out of bed is a victory on some days. But you don’t know that, so you ask how’s work.
Survival is unpaid labor.

xx
“Things will get better”, you say.
But how do you know? Are you an Oracle?
Do you know when? Is it this month? Should I make an appointment?
Should I pack my bags right away or do I have time for a sandwich?

You don’t know? Oh. Yeah. I don’t either.

xx

There is a bet going around, and some days my money is on your theory: that I’ll live, I’ll survive. Even if I don’t see it, I know logically things can get better. Statistically, the possibility is there.

Some days, though, my money is on another theory, but you don’t want to read about that one. But every now and then, my money is on that theory. You never want to hear about us, but then you wish you knew, wish you could’ve done something.

You can do something, though. And I know you want to do something, because you give me your advice, your relentless, annoying positivity, your “silver linings”, your pleasantries, your rehearsed lines.

Your “silver linings”, while well-intended, are worth shit when it comes to my depression.

xx

Grieving is weird when you’re grieving about your own brain. When you’re grieving what your brain has been doing to you, to your life, to your friends and family, for the past year. When you’re grieving an abstract hormonal war inside your body, what wonderful life-changing things you could be doing instead of “just” surviving. So let me grieve. Let me vent, let me rant, allow me that space to feel awful, to feel helpless. Hopefully, to feel hope sometimes.

I’ve been you, okay? And I know it can get uncomfortable. There is a void, an emptiness that is there. I know you feel it, and you feel responsible for filling it, but you’re filling it with more emptiness, more space between us. And ultimately, this is not about you. I am a pretty selfless person (as far as naturally-selfish people can be selfless, I guess; another topic for another time), but I need to be selfish about this if I want to heal. My mental health is not about you. And when you fill perceived blanks with your disturbingly oblivious and often ableist phrases to decrease your own discomfort, to feel like you’re doing something good, you are mostly doing it for you. And I need to repeat myself on this: MY MENTAL HEALTH IS NOT ABOUT YOU.

xx

I am well aware that you cannot know what I need, what many people with depression need, unless we tell you. So here I am, telling you: Shut the fuck up. Listen.

Instead of your unwanted (because, let me remind you, this is all about consent as well) advice, suggest activities we can do together if you want, if I want.
Instead of your positivism, feed me donuts. Any day.
Instead of your well-intended, but ultimately condescending, “logical” statements, give me validation. Give me hugs (but ask first).
Instead of the rehearsed lines you’ve probably been told yourself, the ones we hear everywhere and get us nowhere, rehearse these ones:
“I’m here.” “I’m sorry you feel this way.” “That absolutely sucks, you’re right.” “What can I do?” Hell, even “shit, I don’t know what to say, but I’m here” is perfectly acceptable.

I need to know there will be people who aren’t too tired to show up. Because I am fucking tired sometimes.
I do want you to be here, don’t get ever get that wrong. But actually be here, with me.

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Visualizations

I breathe in, and breathe out.
I am supposed to locate my sadness somewhere in my body. If I picture it, then I can shrink it, move it, dissolve it. I forget what this technique is called as soon as my therapist tells me.

Don’t get me wrong, I do picture it. I picture it as a thick, greasy, gross coating that covers all my skin. It clings to it. It is water resistant. It keeps the sun from coming in.

I can’t shrink it without shrinking myself.

 

She talks about how you are yourself, even when the sadness is there. Behind it, there is always you, and after it, you will remain. She talks about rain.
Everybody knows the sun is still out there, even on rainy days, even when there’s a storm and the sky is all the same shade of gray. You know it in your brain, but after enough gray days and nights, your heart starts to question even the most logical of truths. Will the sun still be there after the sadness disperses? Are you still the same without the sadness? Is your skin the same after you wash off the bad days?

There is a bittersweet comfort in depression. It doesn’t betray you, or leave you. It pulls you into the blankets, it tells you it’s okay if your friends don’t call you or check up on you, because it would never do that to you. It is an abusive partner, but like most abusive partners, it lets you think it was all your idea. You chose to get that bottle of wine, you chose to cancel on your friends’ birthday plans, you chose to watch TV for 24 hours. You chose this lifestyle, so you must have chosen your sadness. You chose to cover your skin in isolation, in brokenness. It even congratulates you for your bad habits.

But you never chose this life, you never chose the rain. You never chose to sit on an arm-chair, breathing in and out, trying to explain how, in spite of all logic, you cannot dissolve the parts of you that you don’t like, without feeling like you’re dissolving everything else.

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Bloodline

There is poison in these veins we share. There are cracks in our skin, fissures that threaten the bridge between these two homes. You may not see them, and I don’t have the heart to tell you, but there are bruises that have been there since the beginning of time. There is no blood anymore: I cleaned it, like the good girl I was always told to be.

Did you see the box that said Fragile?

 

I was 15 when I trusted you. Now I am much older, but I love you just as much, maybe more, than back then. But I don’t trust you. I trust numbers more than I would ever trust a man. Maybe you already figured that part out.

 

There is poison in these veins we share. I feel it, and how could I not?

 

Maybe there is no monster in you. Maybe it is just inside my closet, underneath the bed where I have all the nightmares. But what if there is? What if there is poison in your hands like there is in your lips when you talk to her?

 

You will have to forgive me – or I guess you don’t have to, and maybe you wouldn’t – but I cannot keep my eyes off your knuckles, and I am scared. I am scared because the box said  F R A G I L E , and I want to keep loving you. I want to love you like I loved you when I did not know the numbers, when I hadn’t memorized the hotlines, when you hadn’t raised your voice.

 

I just want you to know that this is still fragile. Handle with care.

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Softest places

I never learned how to write about my softest places,
I never learned how to define them.
Maybe if I could define them,
They could feel less scary,
They could let a little light in.

I never thought I would need so much again.
I never thought I would need. I never wanted to need.
I wanted to just… want.
Optional, disposable. Replaceable.

 

I long wondered how I would know,
When I had found home,
When home had found me.
I no longer wonder. I just
Breathe in. Breathe out.

Home is where darkness has heard of you.

Home has pictures of you and knows when you take your pills.
Home has heard about your softest places,
But your softest places know nothing about home.
Home feeds on your aching bones.
Home is with you when you try to sleep.
Home is with you when you try to sleep.