It’s been awhile since I’ve last written anything. Sometimes I find the words to match my thoughts just mischievously elude me.
Anyhow, this is what I decided was good today. I am NOT a poet by any means, but today this just felt right in this format.
I naively thought the little pill was magic,
that I would pop it into my mouth each night,
and by some miraculous conjoining of my bile
and the Sertraline
it would make me better.
I thought that this little pill
the color of lima beans and
smaller than my baby niece’s little fingernails
would conquer my fears
and bring me back from underwater where
no matter what
I would breathe again with ease, and
like a superhero, keep me safe from
the monsters in my head and their claws pulling
at my brain and my heart.
I guess I should have figured that nothing
is as good as it seems; or,
that nothing worth having comes this easily.
I guess I should have realized these cliches
were true when it comes to mental illness.
Yes, mental illness.
or a bad day
or over exaggerating
or being too sensitive
or making things up.
And just like any illness,
this too doesn’t go away by command.
I can ask and plead and even
cajole or bargain with myself
to stop all of this; but,
like no one can stop cancer from spreading
or epilepsy from seizing
or diabetes from metabolizing incorrectly,
I can’t stop myself from
worrying if I’m good enough
or wondering if I’ll ever measure up.
I can’t convince myself to leave the house
or see friends
or go for a run
or do yoga
or anything that would help me feel
Because I’m afraid.
This fear is real to me.
It squats upon my shoulder
nagging at me
trying its best to
reduce me to invisibility.
It feasts upon me.
It nibbles little holes
into my willpower.
It breaks me down into
digestible pieces that are
easier to take without notice
over time and with little struggle
there isn’t much left.
And it’s then that it’s up to me
to save myself.
This little pill can be the buoy that
keeps me from being swept to sea,
but it can never be my personal island.
I can either flounder and drift amidst the
menace of the swells;
or, I can find some inner strength and
pull my dead weight to shore every time.
Because it’s become clear to me that
this isn’t going away.
It isn’t a small hiccup that will slowly
taper off until stopping without notice.
This is my new normal.
And so I open my arms wide,
put on a pot of tea,
put some cookies on a tray,
and welcome Depression into my home
like an old friend who will be staying on
for an indeterminate length of stay.
We sit together in my room, in
the sunshine pouring into the windows.
We sit and listen and watch and wait.
We enjoy the company of solitude and
the freedom of endless time.
We don’t worry about dressing up for each other
because we have no need for impressing.
But we also hold no pretenses.
We don’t embrace each other because that
would feel too risky.
But we also don’t ignore one another because
that would feel like a charade.
We watch each other in our periphery
waiting to see what each other’s next move
will be in this game of chess we play.
It may be the longest, most impossible
game of chess that has been played;
but as long as I have my arsenal,
my little green pill,
and my writing,
and my room with the sunshine,
I can make it.
There’s no magic here.
There’s no cure-all.
There’s only me.
In my new normal.
Whatever that means.