Edit (30 May 2016): for first-time readers I would like to clarify that I am using the term “depressed” to refer to the fact that, at the time I wrote this poetry, I was suffering undiagnosed clinical depression and generalised anxiety disorder. It is only with hindsight that I can see these poems as representative of one of the few outlets I had to express the unchecked existential despair of a long-term mental health condition.
I note this in order to make it clear that I do not use “depressed” to refer to someone having a bad day, temporary negative emotions, nor a normal time of sadness and grieving after a psychologically-difficult loss. For those of us who suffer mental illness, it is, I think, important that we correctly use the terminology in order to make it clear that prolonged bouts of unexplainable lethargy, low mood and emotional distress are abnormal, and can be symptoms of treatable medical conditions. My only regret is that I didn’t seek medical advice a lot sooner. Considering that I developed depression symptoms around the age of ten, and anxiety symptoms around age 13, it is frustrating knowing that it took until my 30s to realise that I was suffering a health problem.
Sometimes the clues to having a mental illness can be seen in creativity. It was far easier for me to write a depressive poem than it is to say, “I am unwell and I need help.”
I am currently decluttering my RedBubble Portfolio, to make way for more recent art that best represents who I am now, as well as to make it easier for customers to navigate the available products for sale. As a result I will be sharing some of my old creative writings here on WordPress, as a way of preserving them. In several cases my mind, opinions, beliefs, values and overall understanding of life have changed since the time I wrote these pieces, but I still feel that they are personally valuable reminders of the various stages of my life journey thus far.
This piece of writing was first posted at my RedBubble Creative Writing Portfolio.
Date of original post: 13 January 2011
Total views, at 2 May 2016: 364
Hasty decisions led to a lifetime’s bondage.
I collapse in the gravity of long-past choices
And see a grey future before me.
All the voices, the obligations
Tell me to do what’s right –
but what if I can’t do what’s right anymore?
What if, after daily dying a legion of small deaths
I’m just numb?
And it’s over and over and over,
I die and die again.
The same path,
The lonely prison walls I built over years of mistakes.
And I pound the walls
I scream for release.
No one hears, or no one wants to hear.
It’s the same chant over again:
“You have to do what’s right.”
I die to myself in the hope I’ll rise again
but it’s been too long, and
hope fades and cools.
I’m left alone.
I haven’t yet come to life
and I’m not sure I ever will.