On Depression

Last week I posted a poem I wrote on anxiety. I used it recently,  in conjunction with the following poem I wrote on depression, to initiate a discussion on mental health.

On Depression

Depression is a shadow, following me in remission.
He appears through the bathroom door, like a deranged Jack Nicholson, as I take my daily medication.
He pokes fun at me on my way to the therapist’s.
He reminds me of his power, nudging me toward the infinite abyss.

Depression is a light, guiding me in remission.
He appears on a street corner, like a transformed Jack Nicholson, as I kiss the woman I love.
He laughs with me on my way to work.
He reminds me of his power, nudging me toward the endless beauty.

Speaking in HTML

<blog>

<personal thought>Sometimes I wish people would speak in HTML.</personal thought>

<explanation>It would make conversations less confusing for me.</explanation>

<elaboration>I would know when people are being sarcastic. Or when people are withholding the truth. Or when people are hurt. All their words would be tagged with the subtleties of human communication.</elaboration>

<point repeated>Certainly, interactions would be less confusing for me.</point repeated>

<counterpoint>But I suppose there would be downsides. Interpretations, ambiguity, and poetry would be lost…</counterpoint>

<pun>Lost in a fog that would be mist.</pun>

<insight>And we wouldn’t be human if we spoke in HTML.</insight>

</blog>

 

A Walk with my Son

“Let’s go see what’s over there, dad.”
“Okay, son. Do you think we’ll see any animals?”
“Maybe some bugs. But don’t squish ’em. We have to protect nature.”
“Okay.”
“I’m gonna drive a motorcycle when I’m bigger.”
“Cool. Can I go for a ride?”
“Sure. But you have to wear a helmet.”
“Of course.”
“Dad, some days I love you more, and some days I love mom more. I take turns.”
“Okay. Can you love us both?”
“Yeah…yeah, that’s good. Dad, do you want to have ice cream later?”
“Sure.”
“We can get some for my sister too.”
“Okay.”
“But let’s go for a long walk first.”
“Sounds good.”
“I love you, dad. BFF.”
“I love you too, buddy.”

In the Pit

My friend tells me a story that goes something like this.

There’s a guy trapped in a dark, deep pit covered in the stuff that gets flung at Tim Hortons.

He calls for help.

A guy passes the pit but doesn’t hear him. Another person hears but ignores. Another person tries to help but is unsuccessful.

Finally, another guy jumps in the pit.

“You idiot! What are you doing? Now there’s two of us down here.”

“You’re right,” the guy answers. “But I’ve been here before. And I know the way out.”

I recently returned to the pit.
I didn’t want to go.

I knew it would be hard.
I knew it would be uncomfortable.
I knew it would be painful.

I recently returned to the pit.
I didn’t want to go.
But I did.

I had to.

And I will go back again.
Even though I don’t want to.
Because there are people down there.

I tell them
I’ve been here before.
And I know the way out.

Braving with Brené

I saw a book on our coffee table one day.

wilderness book
Cover of book Braving the Wilderness. Photo by M. Fleming

I recognized the author. A couple years ago, I had watched a TED talk she gave on vulnerability. It’s actually one of the most-viewed TED talks of all time.

Back to the book Braving the Wilderness, I asked the reader of the book on our coffee table if it was any good.

“I think you’d like it,” she said.

So I started reading.

“What do you think so far?” she asked.

“I’m not sure I can relate. I’ve never felt like a teenager girl who doesn’t fit in,” I said.

“Well, there must be times in your life when you feel you don’t belong,” she said.

“All the time! But it doesn’t really bother me.”

Well, yes and no.

Belonging to ourselves means being called to stand alone—to brave the wilderness of uncertainty, vulnerability, and criticism.

I have seen this wilderness.
I have been to this wilderness.
I have become this wilderness.

And you’re right, Brené:
It’s a difficult place.
It’s a desolate place.
It’s a lonely place.
It’s an unpleasant, painful, and awful place.

I try to run from this place.

Yet it pulls me back.

Because you’re right, Brené:
It’s a beautiful place.
It’s a mystical place.
It’s a daring place.
It’s an amazing, vibrant, and loving place.

It’s where I want to be.