Monsters: A poem within a poem

As Children we looked under our beds for monsters. Our monsters hid in closets. They lay in wait for the flick of the switch to conceal the room in total, utter, all-consuming darkness. Monsters that didn’t really exist, and that were really nothing more than shadows transformed into hideous beings by our overactive imaginations.

“Daddy! Daddy! There’s a monster!”

Somehow between the ages of naivety and experience, the monsters created by the imagination changed into monsters no imagination could create. Monsters hiding in the recesses of our soul until moments of weakness signals the beginning of feeding time—a feeding time that puts all the troops on high alert:

Watch out, there’s an invader. But the invader is only a darker version of ourselves threatening to destroy us. And the battlefield is our body: we are protecting our bodies from ourselves. Because the mind is a dangerous place, especially the mind of a tormented soul who doesn’t know how to deal with the pain.

And cries of “Daddy! Daddy! There’s a monster!” won’t save you this time.

The cries won’t save you from the battle raging on in your mind for control of your body. A battle that is best exemplified by a poem in the diary of a young girl who has just started fighting, a girl who has been so consumed by self-hate that she began cutting to stop the thought of ending her life.

An unnamed poem that reads:

Looking in the mirror, a tear stained face stares back at her.

She sees the hurt in her eyes.

Flashbacks of memories from the life shoe once lived control her mind;

She closes her eyes and the memories come flooding in.

Worthless. Worthless.

Ugly. Ugly.

Lying in her bed at night, she’s reached the breaking point.

Delirious from the tears, subconsciously her hands grab the scissors.

Slash.

The warm crimson blood trickles out of the newly made wound on her abdomen.

It stings like a slap in the face.

But it provides a temporary release for the pain, the anger.

Slash:

Another one.

This time on the wrist—

A cut that feels like it’s on fire.

She opens her eyes.

She looks in the mirror for a second time.

She dries her tears.

She covers her recently created marks of all-consuming self-hate.

She walks out the door to start her day.

That day’s battles will leave her with two more scars.

But the poem doesn’t have to end that way. Your story doesn’t have to end that way. The monsters don’t have to win. A simple asterisk with an alternate ending turns the poem to a happy one:

She looks in the mirror for a second time.

She dries her tears, turns around, and walks away;

She leaves the person she was behind.

She’s stronger now.

All that’s left are the scars and the memories of those long, sleepless nights.

You’re stronger now.

I’m stronger now.

We’re all stronger now.

 

 

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What doesn’t kill you

…makes you stronger.

Kelly Clarkson once told me that little nugget of wisdom. Well, Kelly, I hope that’s true. Because Depression hasn’t killed me, yet. But, I sure as hell* hope that it’s made me stronger.

( *I don’t swear on principle, but sometimes when you’re writing, swear words used in moderation help make a point. )

In one of my more recent blog posts, “You’re Better Off Dead,” I also wrote about this topic. Apparently, I need to reiterate.

People who live with Depression are often misjudged to be weak, selfish attention-seekers. I have never in my life heard a statement that is more false than that one.

Allow me to paint you a picture:

Imagine that you are fighting by yourself in a war against an army that is 7 billion strong. The other army has all the weapons available to them; you, on the other hand, have only a plastic fork and a metal trash can lid to defend you. Clearly, you don’t stand much of a chance. But, you, being the innovative person that you are, use the fork to dig yourself a hole. You jump in the hole, and use the metal trashcan lid to cover the hole and protect yourself from the bombs and bullets that are raining down on you.

This is Depression. The bombs and bullets are life and everything it throws at you. The fork is the voice inside your head telling you to fight like hell to survive—a voice that can be silenced so easily. The metal trashcan lid is your own personal sanctuary, wherever or whatever it may be.

My personal sanctuary is my bed. On my good days, it takes me an hour to get out of bed after I wake up (and that’s only if I have someplace to be). I’d much rather curl up in my bed, hide under the blankets, and not face life. But I get out of bed. I face life. I fight with my plastic fork, and even when I am too weak to take one more step in that marathon called Life, I do anyway. Because even though it feels as though I am sometimes breathing through a straw, my lungs are still filled with air. And as long as my lungs are still filled with air, I refuse to be another teenager lost to Suicide.

Because I easily could have been another Suicide statistic.

But, I chose life.

I chose to fight. And even though I don’t go through every day undamaged, even though my Depression causes me to regret somethings I do, I live. I do not suffer from Depression; I am living with Depression.

One day, I will die. But it will because I lived.

Depression will not be the death of me.

Depression:  “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.”