The tilting of time

I often think
about depression
and anxiety
and the sensation of time
The feeling that
at some point
your mind tilted the future
And now
it presses down
on your chest
the whole lot of it
all at once
and my god
it’s no wonder
you cannot breathe
But the thing
to try and see
and it will be hard
there is no doubt
is that you don’t
have to do it
all at once
The future
is just
a lungful
at a time
In
and out
In
and out
You couldn’t breathe
it all at once
no matter how much
you wanted to
no matter how much
you try
It won’t feel easy
tilting your mind back
to just a lungful
of the future
But the thing
about life is
It’s very much
like breathing
the ups and downs
are the way
that it works

Box

I am in a glass box
in the middle of a crowd
and I am banging
and banging and shouting
and no one can hear me,
no one can see me,
because there is an image
on the outside of the box
of me, smiling
happy and together
and they all think
that one
is real.

Sometimes I feel that even
if they did see me,
or I got out
and I smashed the glass
box into a million pieces,
then I’d still feel
like this,
because in my head
there is another box,
and inside
another me.

Writer

I am not good at starting things.
That said, I’m not that great
at finishing things either.
Both shortcomings come
from the same place-
my ideals too high, and
confidence too low.

I have a tendency to overthink things.
To overthink my overthinking,
to overthink that overthinking
until I have paralysed
myself into a corner with
THINGS I MUST CONSIDER.

I should not really be a writer.
This is what I tell myself over and over.
I am not sure if I am helping myself
with this gem of truth
or whether it really
is the truth or not.
This is the nature of it-
is my lack of confidence
a side effect of my depression?
Or is my depression an excuse
for what really is
a lack of talent?

Things I have told myself
that may or may not be true:
I am not a very good writer.
I have no real writing experience.
I have nothing to say.
No one would want to read this.
This is a vanity project
masquerading as
an interesting read.
Get a real job.

Get a real life

I am not well.
I may never BE well.
I may not even BE at all
much longer,
and why would anyone
want to read advice from
someone just as broken
and useless as they feel?
Do I even have any advice to give?
Do I have anything to give at all?

I may not ever be a writer.
I may never be able to write
a single word again.
But I’ve been practising
being a writer,

And I think I’ve got
the madness,
the starving
and the
self loathing
cracked.

A life

There is a sad sweet comfort
in knowing you won’t live till thirty.
So sure I was I wasn’t strong,
I would snap myself before then.

As issues piled on and hope fell away
it was reassuring to think
Don’t worry, it won’t be long now
Soon, you get to rest.

When you are living only for other people
because you hate yourself so much,
you know it is all dismantling
when you’re sure it’s better for them gone.

But for me there came a moment
of stillness on that cliff,
when it struck me I did not want to die
I just couldn’t live like this.

And morbid as it sounds,
there is sweet comfort in
knowing if all this trying fails,
your friend death is always there.

Exquisite hard and sharp and bright,
life’s light startled and pained me,
but when you’ve lived with death so long,
it takes a lot to shake you.

Little by little I pieced myself back,
and the wonderful thing
about burning a life to the ground
is you can rebuild it all your own.

This new task was so daunting,
never thought of it before.
How complex it is to build a life
you never thought you’d live!

So many things that others have
you never bothered to do or practice,
but maybe you also have things
that they themselves do not?

Because it was when that old self died
that you found amongst the ashes-
not only a life you never knew,
but finally its worth.

Wolf

It doesn’t start out
as a scream this time,
but builds from a slow scratching,
a low whine.
A wild animal waking up, pacing.
Moving frantic and bars clawed.

I lie on my bed,
and stare at the ceiling.
I feel it inside me
as animal breaks from its cage.
A wolf snarling bristle,
I’m agitated hopeless,
and I’m losing my mind
as I’m losing control.

I sit straight up in bed.
My wild wolf has made his way
to the very surface of me.
I feel him trying
to jump out of my chest,
every beat of my heart
a freedom attempt,
each slipping bit by bit
from already tentative control.
He’s going to take me.
He’s going to take it all.
I need to give him something, stall him,
because I am not quite yet ready to go.

I jerkily scramble
through my bedside drawer,
and I find my amiable blade,
amongst random bauble scraps.

I sit in bed
with my razor
and pain,
and my wild animal
barely restrained,
but restrained enough only
not to tear my own wholly
horrorbeast body to pieces.

I see only blood,
pouring rivers of blood.
and I see myself,
stretched arms impossible wide,
sliced from palm to shoulder,
wretched red from both sides.
I see the blood
from my flapping throat
gush down my body,
scarlet contrast starkly
with my brittle naked pale.

Then the walls start bleeding,
and the ceilings swooping in,
it is poisoned birds
and choking clouds
And I don’t know where
or what I am.

My mind has disengaged
as I scrape the blade down wrist.
Deep scratches,
Claw marks,
Again. Again. Again
My wolf falters final
and lets me breathe again
for now.

Bloody friend

My friend makes me leave the house.
Its 11:30 at night but I need to get out of here.
We walk to the park, every step a staggering torment.
I cannot explain to him how much energy,
how much effort it takes to move,
to keep my head upright.

I sit down, lie. I stare at the sky.
It is dark, cloudy, starless, obscured.
My friend tells me I cannot lie here.
He drags me up, walking again.
To the park.

I have no energy,
I cannot be bothered,
I do not care.
Shadows play on the buildings, the slides, the bars.
Dark spirits in all my corners, behind my eyes.

He moves me like a sad doll,
a paltry imitation of life.
I sit on the swings, the roundabout.
Even in my hideous state I see the irony:
a children’s playground, primary coloured fun and gaudy,
a tiny freak, brittle suicidal pale.
Eerie fairground music fills my ears
and I laugh and laugh and laugh.
I cannot explain how much I want to die.

Broken glass at the bus stop is made
for carving my pain onto my body,
maybe then people might understand the things
I am barely holding onto inside myself.

I have run out of books in my minds library
into which to scratch scrawled ramblings in my own blood,
and now I’m just piling all the furniture
into the centre of the room as a pyre.

I sit with my friend at the bus stop and cry.
My tears make friends with the rain.
I find it increasingly hard to speak,
to move my legs one in front of each other.
All my energy is gone, drained,
a puppet abandoned by it’s master.

We go back to his place.
Stare at the ceiling together.
I show him my bandages,
their bloody friends beneath.
Finally, finally, we talk.