Tuesday, March 31, 2015

This Isn't Goodbye














The page is flooded
with posts saying "goodbye".
Today is the last day
of a month that flew by.

Thank you for your comments,
words of praise and support.
You gave me much needed courage
when my mind tried to thwart.

I hope I inspired
or at least made you think.
I look forward to next year.
It'll be here in a blink.

For the time being
I will not lay down my pen.
Just because something is over
doesn't mean it has to be an end.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Laughter



When living a life
under a constant cloud,
there is something so beautiful
about laughing out loud.

A true laugh
is a moment of lightness.
How free it feels.
The room brightens.

Thank you, Lord, 
for smiles and laughter
and that I can do both
feeling hopeful after.

(Written 3.30.15)

Sunday, March 29, 2015

#Support



During the last few days, I have been exploring the darker side of the internet, specifically Instagram. Hashtags can take you on a journey. My journey led me to #suicide. There I found a difficult mixture of images and captions. While some were images tagged simply to increase viewership, most were tagged with the honest pain you feels when you are suicidal, when mental illness has gone too far and led you to believe that you are worthless and that life will never get better for you.

These young people are often called "Attention Seekers" because they post images of self-harm or threaten suicide often. While that may be true about some of the posters, I will not be the one to make that call. You never know who is truly in pain and how they are going to react to it. Sharing such things may be the only way they can think of to reach out. Many of the posters say that they feel a fellowship with others on the social networking sites that they cannot find in the real world. #SecretSociety123 is a not-so-secret society of young people who have suicidal ideations.


While some of the posters promote and support diseased behaviors such as cutting and restricting food, others find a way through the haze of mental illness to truly support and strengthen each other. 
Some individuals create Instagram accounts specifically to spread support and messages of hope. 
Reading and viewing these Instagram posts that were filled with so much pain brought back memories of those feelings. Hopelessness, Self-hatred, Despair. I decided to do what I could to be a voice of reason among the tide of negative messages.

I did what I could to navigate the darkness and find the individuals who seemed to truly be lost. I wrote messages encouraging them to get professional help, but I know so many are too stubborn to do so. I wrote that I waited almost fifteen years too long before I asked for help and how I wished I had done so sooner. I wrote about my recovery journey, that it takes hard work and often a helping hand, but that it was possible. Happiness is possible. I shared coping skills and hope. I reminded them that suicide is not the only option to end pain, nor is it the best one as it eliminates the possibility of being happy again. Some told me that no one would listen or that everyone thought that they were okay. I told them that sometimes because our problems overwhelmed our very being that we forget that those we love cannot always see what we're going through, even if we think it's obvious. Sometimes you have to talk, shout, or scream until they see. And some people will never understand, but there is someone in your life who will and you shouldn't give up until you find them. You are not alone.



I spent many hours writing message after message last night. I didn't even realize how the time flew by. I have no idea how many messages I sent. I knew many would fall on deaf ears. Sometimes we are not ready to hear that our pain can end. Sometimes we hold on to our pain as if it were a life jacket when in reality it is a anchor pulling us down. In the morning, I found messages of thanks on my phone that I did not expect. Individuals reaching out to me. There were not many, but I was touched by what there was. I did not expect anything but indignant responses but I received none of those. I know I didn't change any lives with a few hours of messaging but I do hope that I planted a seed. A seed of hope.



(I encourage anyone else who feels up to sharing their experiences to speak out. Write a blog, post on Facebook, go on Instagram and #suicide [Warning: this hashtag and others like it sometimes display disturbing images] and spread the word that recovery and happiness is possible! What better use for our painful pasts than to help inspire others that life can get better. And you don't have to be a mental illness warrior to let someone know they are not alone and that they matter.)



The Seed














I couldn't sleep.
My mind was on fire.
Scrolling through images
where death is a desire.

The hurt I used to know so well
flared up as I read their pain.
I remember what that felt like
when I thought I was insane.

So I spent hours and hours
spreading words of support and hope.
Sharing the story of my recovery
and ideas on how to cope.

I begged that they reach out
and get the help they need.
I may not have changed their lives
but I hope I planted the seed.

(Written 3.29.15)

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Foreign Land













To me, my body is now a foreign land.
From the size of my waist to the fingers on each hand.

As my torment changes to stabilized ills,
the number rises on each bottle of pills.

So jumps the number on my jeans and the scale.
Any attempt at weight loss will miserably fail.

My former curves have rounded out.
While I once thought I was "fat", I now have no doubt.

My bones weren't meant to hold this weight.
The health problems piling up just exacerbate.

Sleep apnea, joint pain, and now I snore.
Now fighting against a self-image that's poor.

The medicines that are keeping me alive
are smothering my chances to thrive.

Trying to take this as a blessing in disguise.
I will find a way to win and from the ashes, rise.


(Written 3.28.15)

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Shadows of the Internet














Today, as part of my journey
to bring mental illness out of the darkness,
I explored the shadows of the internet
where individuals promote the madness.

Girls and women hating their bodies,
reveling in each pound lost.
While other sufferers give "support".
No one thinking of the cost.

Cutters posting instead of getting help.
Photos of self-harm are on display.
"Don't report me, just unfollow".
Just accepting their disease is here to stay.

#anorexia #selfharm
You offer support and advice.
They dismiss it, they don't have a problem.
Ignoring the enormous price.

Say they're "pro-recovery",
still they restrict their food.
Impressionable teenagers
ride the unstable swing of each mood.

In these dark corners of the internet,
where illness is not only ignored but worshiped,
lives hang in the balance
and friends who should protect are ill-equipped.

If only it were as easy
as fighting shadows with a flashlight.
But nothing will change for them
until they put up arms and fight their fight.

(Written 3.27.15)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Selfie














Arrogant and vain.
A generation unabashed.
Addicted to their own image
with each camera flashed.

Or is this a movement of self love.
Where it is okay to be happy with you.
Your body as well as your mind,
and all of your flaws too.

It may well be both things
but I choose to see the beauty.
The bravery behind each photo
even if it's just a selfie.



















(Written 3.26.15)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Butterfly














A beautiful, purple butterfly
hanging on a silver chain.
Never has it graced my neck
for despite it's beauty, it brings me pain.

Sometimes I hold it in my hand.
Feel its coolness on my skin.
But I cannot wear it round my neck
for fear of the anger that's within.

Sitting on my window sill.
Catching my eye like the sun.
Waiting for the day it will hang from my neck
when all of this lying is done.


(Written 3.25.15)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Midnight Promises














"Promise me,"
he said,
"promise you'll never give up."
He asks this of me
unaware he's asking
to drag me through shards of glass.

"I promise." I respond,
tears slipping down my cheeks.
I would follow him,
barefoot,
across hot coals.

He holds me tight
as I engrave this moment,
the promise,
into my unstable mind.

We are two allied fighters
on a treacherous battlefield.
But while we fight side by side
we are fighting different wars.

Lying in each other's arms
we are the other's armor.
So I hold on to him tighter.

"I promise."
I whisper into the darkness.

(Written 3.24.15)

So Long Ago

My love, my love.
How long has this been going on?
We said our vows
by the riverside,
it seems like yesterday.
But our love was born
so long ago.

My love, my love.
How could I let this happen?
I let someone come between us.
Another person in our bed.
You feel you barely know her
but you met her
so long ago.

My love, my love.
How can I heal these wounds?
You saw me change before your eyes.
You thought the woman you love had died.
Wondering who was this new, tormented soul.
But my illness began its control
so long ago.

My love, my love.
How many nights have you sat by me?
Through tears, and screams, and worse.
You'd kiss me a thousand times if it would break this curse.
But what about your wounds that I made
not so long ago?

(Written 3.24.15)

Monday, March 23, 2015

Normal














On days like today
I dream of being "normal".
A "normal" woman,
a "normal" life,
with a "normal" family.
A "normal" body,
a "normal" brain,
with "normal" memories.

On days like this
I wonder what "normal" is
and if it's really worth wishing for.
The hardships and strife
of this abnormal life
have made me strong
even when I was at my weakest.

Today I'll take abnormal.


(Written 3.23.15)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Facebook














Daily we read our newsfeeds,
watching others live out our dreams.
Their smiling faces too extreme.

Our self-esteem is already damaged.
Hundreds of friends yet we feel abandoned.
This site is not what we imagined.

We base so much on likes and comments.
"Be the first to comment..." silently torments.
Yet we think nothing of marking 'maybe' for events.

We must quit comparing life that's real
to this virtual reality that cannot feel.
Live IRL and let your self heal.

(Written 3.22.15)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Lost Dream















This pain is deep.
The ache of a lost dream.
My eyes long to cry.
My throat longs to scream.

But my body is too weary.
All my strength is gone.
My heart which once reached out
is now broken and withdrawn.

The moon's journey has ended.
My wishing star shines no more.
All I feel is emptiness.
A dark, hollow feeling I can't ignore.


(Written 3.21.15)

Friday, March 20, 2015

Sick Day














Today, I'm sick.
Fever, headache,
sore throat,
runny, stuffed up nose.

None of these symptoms
lend well to prose.

My head is pounding
and I can't think straight.

When has nine o' clock
ever seemed so late?

Medicines,
soothing drinks,
hot showers,
ice packs on my head.

It's hard to care for oneself
when you need to get the toddler to bed.

All day, meals and games.
Every Disney movie ever.

Try to catch a nap
but she is far too clever.

Finally, Daddy comes home
and takes over the toddler fun.

Collapse in bed.
The sick day is done.


(Written 3.20.15)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Run














Hello there, old friend.
I hear you whispering again.
You drag your nails across my arm
and promise me you mean no harm.
You promise my aching heart relief
but I remember you, I remember the grief.
You would hand me the blade.
and smile darkly as each cut was made.
You provoke me with twisted realities
and discount my mere mortality.
I feel you fight for control over me,
to flay my flesh and make me bleed.
"I only want the best for you."
"Let go, release, it's the thing to do."
But you will ravage my soul no more.
My body shall speak of life, not war.
I know our battle is far from done
but for tonight, I suggest you run.


(Written 3.19.15)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Imperfect Mother













My daughter didn't eat anything
but tortilla chips for dinner.
She went to bed with damp hair.
The TV babysat for a while today
so I could deal with my depression.
I told her to put herself in time out
because I was busy fixing a gourmet lunch
of PB&Js.

What kind of mother am I?
I've read the parenting books.
Taken classes on early development.
I've read the mommy blogs.
Joined the mom groups.
I should be the perfect mom.
But I'm not.

I yell sometimes
(But I try to follow up with hugs).
Meals don't always include a veggie
(But I'm always trying to find one she'll like).
Bedtime is nowhere near consistent
(But I am always willing to sing another lullaby).
I am an imperfect mother
(But I love her more than life).

Judge away.


(Written 3.18.15)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A Little Magic












I am no magician
but I know a little magic.
A spell to clear my mind
when my thoughts are at their darkest.
In a quiet room,
with the tattooed flesh of trees,
I escape the warring in my head
as I begin to read.

Amongst the turning pages,
I find relief and sanctuary.
Losing myself in another's life.
Be it fantasy, memoirs, or murder mysteries.
"Once upon a time"...
And for a while, I feel free.

(Written 3.17.15)

Monday, March 16, 2015

It's Enough















Here I find myself,
the children's play area of the mall.
Kids screaming, running, laughing.
So much joy
(until it's time to leave).

But while my eyes watch my daughter
as she climbs and falls and tries again,
they also wander to the other adults.
Moms, dads, moms and dads.
Perhaps a nanny, grandmother, or older sister.
They watch the children.
Check their phones.
And occasionally chat and laugh with each other.
"How old is he?"
"Oh, she's so cute!"

But not with me.

I smile at them, inviting conversation
but they turn their heads before a smile is returned.
Deep down, I know, this isn't what it feels like.
I am not being ostracized. 
I am paranoid, overreacting, anxious.
I fear they can see my history, my disease.

Mine is an invisible illness.
Yet I fear it is showing now.
A cast, a crutch, an oxygen mask.
Do they see my scars?

STOP!
They do not know me anymore than I know them and the scars they are hiding.

A mother glances at me sideways.
A flicker of a smile.
It's enough.


(Written 3.16.15)



Sunday, March 15, 2015

Little Glass Doll












My little glass doll
with a mind of her own.
No longer holds my hand,
she says she can do it alone.

I hold my breath
as she begins, her small hands gripping.
My arms stretched out, shaky,
in case of her tiny frame slipping.

But she doesn't even know I'm there.
She doesn't need a hand.
She's daring as she climbs on
leaving the soil, leaving land.

My entire being is on alert.
My fragile little girl has no fear.
And as she reaches the top
I shed a mother's tear.

My little glass doll
isn't as fragile as she seems.
But I will still always be there,
even if just to support her dreams.

(Written 3.15.15)

Saturday, March 14, 2015

This Disastrous Game

Your eyes are the color of storm clouds
but without the life and energy.
Your tongue paints lies like sunflowers
and your heart knows no empathy.

Your armory boasts a wealth of masks
with which you catch your prey.
And when you've got your chains in place
you decide it's time to play.

This disastrous game has no name
but the pieces are the poor souls you caught.
Your tears become a hurricane
when you realize their love cannot be bought.

You cause pain without flinching.
Perhaps you were a warrior in another life.
There is a dead calm in your eyes
as you thrust in the poisoned knife.

You leave your victims for dead,
a single wound in their back,
as you run to the others
with lies of an attack.



(Written 3.14.15)

A Bad Mood












I feel like I'm walking
through a different room
than the others.

It's a struggle to move,
to breathe, to even think.
The tension smothers.

My nerves are strung tight.
You could play them
like a golden harp.

And when you say
just one wrong word
I'll reply, tongue sharp.

It would be being kind
to call me "irritable"
when I feel like a villain.

This mood I am in
has me vibrating with rage
and sure makes me feel like one.

Was it lack of sleep
or this chronic pain
that leaves terror in my wake?

Deep breaths, in and out.
Calm the thorny beast
for everybody's sake.

(Written 3.14.15)

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Nightmare












I laid my head down on the pillow
with every intention to read.
But my eyes were heavy
and before I knew it I followed their lead.

Suddenly I was lost in a dream world.
Though one not quite pleasant.
Autumnal colors swirled and swayed
but still the place was stagnant.

I found that my limbs were tied.
I was bound to a post of wood.
I tried to speak out
but it didn't appear that I could.

Dizzy with the swirling atmosphere,
my head weighed me down.
The voices chose then to speak
and when I couldn't answer, they frowned.

Chained for a hundred years.
Clothed in decaying rags.
Some days they chose to beat me
under their time-worn flags.

Silent tears ran down my face.
I no longer bothered with sight.
My soul was weary, my skin dried,
my heart had lost its fight.

Then a deep voice spoke out.
It questioned my presence there.
Everything scattered with deafening noise
followed by silence in the air.

Then came a new noise,
one I knew from another world.
A buzz like a bumblebee.
Around my mind it swirled.

....buzz...buzz...buzz...

Suddenly I am upright in my bed,
disorientated and covered with sweat.
I answer my phone with a drowsy voice,
letting go of the dream I hoped to forget.

(Written 3.13.15)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Circle













We sit in a circle,
each of us scarred.
We each tell our tale,
sharing how we were marred.

We search the faces around us
for some sort of empathy.
We need to be understood
to relax to any degree.

We see ourselves as victims,
or monsters, or worse.
We have each come close
to the inside of a hearse.

But each of us has survived
to this very moment.
Our path to recovery lies before us
if we would just begin it.

Here again, we will meet,
in another week,
to hopefully find again
the fellowship we seek.

(Written 3.12.15)

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

I forgot












I forgot.
How could I forget?
A busy day filled with birthday wishes
for a woman in green.
A best friend.
Celebrate another year,
while I celebrate another day.
Another day?!
I forgot.
Less than an hour.
In the car,
on the way home.
A singing toddler.
The radio plays.
A drum beats.
It seems to speed up time.
So little time.
But the birthday girl's hug was worth it.
The conversation.
The therapy I needed.
Last minute.
Like my gifts,
like my poem.
I forgot!
But I won't forget tomorrow.

(Written 3.11.15)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Proud












There was once a time when I didn't know your smile.
When your laughter didn't ring in my ears.
Thank God that time ended and we got a few good years.

I would call you family if someone asked.
"My sister", I would claim.
And though we are forced apart right now, our friendship is the same.

I am here to listen even when we cannot speak.
I will watch over you with pride
as you meet the goals you seek.

You have already grown so much.
I'm sure you could teach me a thing or two.
While others are just finding out your worth, I always knew.

You shine brighter than any star that burns
and your smile may be brighter.
If you find a day you doubt yourself, remember you're a fighter.

(Written 3.10.15)

Not Beautiful

My scars are not beautiful.
I will not romanticize
this red testimony.
Just a lesson learned in my eyes.

Dancing with blades.
This self-infliction
is no masterpiece,
just another addiction.

You cannot compare
this scar to a sapphire,
though both gleam in the light
of the mind's consuming fire.

They are not beautiful.
But I am despite.
An honest, loving soul
clothed in rags of hindsight.

You are beautiful
but not for your scars.
It's for your strength that you're still here
to write your memoirs.

Lay down your weapon,
your poison of choice.
Pick up your best offense.
Raise your beautiful voice.

(Written 3.10.15)

Monday, March 9, 2015

After The Final Rose












Such a short journey,
seemed so long.
Hard to believe
that their love is strong.

The final rose.
Two girls waiting.
My heart beating fast,
embarrassed, anticipating.

Did I feel so shaky
during the moments of my engagement?
Are these words spoken true
or said for mere entertainment?

Both girls in tears,
one with a smile.
Will this love last forever
or just a short while?

Now I'll turn off the TV.
Maybe forget about them forever
and turn back to my life
and what my marriage will weather.

A proposal is a moment,
a wedding is a day.
A marriage is a lifetime,
a promise to stay.

Two people in love
hoping the love grows
when the cameras turn off
after the final rose.

(Written 3.9.15)

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Hour Lost












The house is quiet
save for the baby's lullabye,
my pen scratching paper,
and a soft, sleepy sigh.

The leap our clocks took
as we lay sleeping
has haunted our morning.
The fatigue came creeping.

First went the babe.
Fussing marks her usual nap.
She fought only briefly
and was out in a snap.

Then went the wounded girl.
Her bones and muscles throbbed.
The dust of fairy dreamers
helped reclaim the hour she was robbed.

Lastly lay the man.
Though there be work to be done,
he rests his lovely head,
for he cannot resist the cushion.

And lost in the calm,
the writer cannot sleep.
For when no words are spoken
'tis then her pen will weep.


(Written 3.8.15)

Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Page












I am bursting with ideas.
Purely exploding with thought.
And the only place safe
from the artistic onslaught

is the page.

I am being pulled down
by my mind's undertow.
Straining to separate the madness
from the words that flow

onto the page.

Being torn in a million directions.
My mind about to be split.
Too many synapses to count,
yet I cannot commit

to the page.

I struggle with the overload.
Too many tales in my mind.
But I have managed this.
A few words confined

to the page.


(Written 3.7.15)

Friday, March 6, 2015

Up in Flames













Smoke obscures my vision.
It burns my nose.
This is not the pleasant smoke of
a winter bonfire.
I fan my hand in a vain attempt
to find fresh air.
This is how I destroy things.
My hope of being the mother
I've always wanted to be,
of making a difference,
of changing the world.
My dreams always end up
going up in flames.
My eyes tear up from
smoke? Sadness?
Wiping away the tears
I bring myself back to reality.
This is just dinner.
I've burnt dinner before.

(Written 3.6.15)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Mother and the Mental Patient

Once upon a time,
I knew two women.
One's heart was closed,
the other's open.

Outside they were similar.
Sharing dark hair and eyes.
But while one had hope
the other only had lies.

One felt the deepest love
and gave such love in return.
The other felt only pain
and though not hateful, she was stern.

One had dreams and plans
of the future and of family.
While the other had nightmares of the past
from which she could not be free.

While one's joy was new
and it made her bold,
the other was weakened
by a pain strong but old.

They shared the same scars
but told different tales.
Both faced the darkness
of invisible ails.

The Mother and the Mental Patient.
Merely masks people see.
They are one broken soul,
both pieces of me.

I tried to separate
the different parts of me
but I found accepting me as a whole
was the only way to liberty.

Now everyone may know the real me,
the battles I have fought,
the ones I am fighting,
and what each victory and loss has taught.

Speak with one voice.
Happiness is not easily won
but taking each day at a time,
someday will find the divide gone.

Puzzle Pieces

Trying to fit in so hard.
We cram ourselves
into spaces too small.

We try so many places.
We run out of hope
of finding a space at all.

We cannot see far
from our outstretched arms
to see what's in the distance.

We see ourselves as societal orphans
with no home in life.
We cloud our own existence.

If we took time to explore,
to find our true space
and love ourselves along the way,

we might find happiness,
a family and ourselves,
in the spot we were meant to lay.

Amelia

Amelia charges towards me.
Crash!
And somehow she lands
softly
in my arms.

She's going on about something
I can't understand.
Her English is so clear
until
it's not.
Sometimes I'd swear someone
is teaching her Japanese
behind my back.

Rocking her in my arms.
Her blue eyes stare
into mine,
deep brown. 
She begins to calm. 

I kiss her forehead
And say, 
"I love you".
She quietly replies
that she loves me too.
Words 
so rare
they melt me heart.

Her eyelids drift.
She curls against me.
Heavy.
Where did my infant go?
Her breathing evens.
We live for these moments
but...
Naptime
is here.
Thank goodness.


(Written 3.5.15)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Weather













Boiling, sweating.
But I don't wanna write
about the weather.

Melting, scorching.
It's true the grass
is greener.

Looks of longing.
Oh, how I would
roll in that snow.

Hark! The setting sun.
But the heat only
seems to grow.

Dreams of ice.
Another minute
and I think I will melt.

Don't want to write
about the weather
but today it's all I've felt.

(Written 3.4.15)


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

After Midnight

Not long after midnight, the tears start flowing.
Mind racing 100 miles, no idea where it's going.

My dreams are dashed by my own hands.
Hope slipping away through fingers like sand.

My first mistake was making plans.
God laughs because his are better than man's.

A dislike for myself fuels this fire.
Reminds me I do not deserve what I desire.

Round and round we go each night.
I fear someday soon I will give up the fight.


(Written 3.3.15)

Monday, March 2, 2015

Offended













Scrolling,
scrolling,
scrolling.

We do so much of that
these days.
Through our messages,
our emails,
our photos.
And these things called
"feeds".

Whether on Twitter,
Facebook,
Tumblr,
our feeds can keep us
alert
to what our friends,
our families,
our enemies,
are doing now.
Now.

Today, a woman was
offended
by something on her feed.
She lashed out.
She aimed to tear the other woman
down.
We forget that our feeds
are not "ours".
While we may
block,
report
ignore,
others are creating the content.

Instead of just
adverting
our eyes
to what we do not wish
to see,
so many wish to shut down
the voices of others.
Barring harassment,
abuse,
murder,
why can't we let others
be.

We are different.
We want and believe
different things.
Offended?
Yes,
you may be offended
by an image that
speaks
of life and beauty
to another.
Can it be painful for some?
Yes.
But art and self-expression
do not promise to be
pristine,
easy,
safe.

Someday, we must face
our fears
and dare I say it?
Be offended.

(Written 3.2.15)


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Clown Car













I know what it's like now
to sit in a clown car.
Crumpled inside.
Too many people,
too many things,
for such a small vehicle.
Bubbles, streamers, and candy
fill my lap.
I know there are others
inside this funny thing,
this piƱata of colors,
but I cannot see them
for all the balloons
surrounding my head.
What clowns must go through
to bring us laughter.
Today, we got to bring
that laughter,
those smiles,
that joy.
My make-up would be considered
a natural look
but my eyes shared the gleam
of a clown who has given happiness
to a downtrodden soul.


(Written 3.1.15)