Warning Signs 

I know my depression is making a come back when certain things start to happen. Before I really began researching and tracking my illness I just took these signs as a part of my (almost) every day life… I thought they were normal. Apparently not. 

Firstly, and most noticeably, I start to dread waking up. Mornings have always been the hardest part of the day for me (unsurprisingly I am a night owl), but when I feel depressed they are sheer pain. I open my eyes and my first thought is always “fuck, I’m alive”. There is a cement block on my chest (anxiety), which makes getting up that much more difficult. Sticking to my routine is vital though, and even when I’m on the verge of tears I pull myself out of bed. 

Secondly, sound and touch start to annoy me. I’m talking revulsion. I’m talking rage inducing irritation of unreasonable proportions. “Do you have to swallow that juice so fucking loudly? Must you breath so heavily? Do you have to sit so fucking close to me?” These are the kinds of thoughts that run through my head daily. Ordinary things that others wouldn’t notice crawl under my skin and drive me mad. I have to constantly restrain myself from verbally snapping or lashing out. It’s awful (for me and those around me), and most of the time the only thing that helps is if I remove myself from the situation (not always possible). 

Thirdly, everything seems like a chore and I am constantly tired. It doesn’t matter if it’s something I enjoy – I have no energy or interest. I feel like I’m on autopilot, just going through the motions to get through the day. Everything seems pointless. My mood tends to be quite reactive, so when nice things happen or I complete a task I do feel good temporarily. I always go back to feeling shitty though. Daily tasks, such as feeding myself properly, doing laundry, grocery shopping and keeping up with basic hygiene, become utterly exhausting. 

Lastly, I simply have no hope for the future. My life seems like one long, lonely road that is never going to get better. Sometimes I can’t even see my future – the fog is that thick. Other times I’m convinced that it’s just going to be worse than the present. It’s difficult but I have to remind myself that the fog will eventually clear (please hurry up I’m suffocating) and things will start to look better. 

These are only some of the things that accompany my depression, but they are among the ones that stand out the most to me. I hate the fact that this is such a big part of my life. I resent this illness so fucking much. 

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I Am Breaking

I am breaking

Bit by bit

Pieces falling

As I sit

 

I am breaking

Day by day

Empty heart

Nothing to say

 

I am breaking

Hear me cry

Avert your gaze

Walk on by

 

I am breaking

Can’t you see?

Shattered hopes

Remain of me

Tethered

Temporarily tethered together

We wish worlds would

Remain romantic

Too

 

But being bound by

Duty does devastate

Everything, especially

Us

Fireworks

I’ve taken to walking around my neighborhood at night. My usual route takes me down a tree lined path next to a large park that’s usually bustling with people no matter the hour. Tonight it’s especially crowded. Dozens of scooters are parked in neat rows along the street. I can’t be bothered to be around them all so instead I walk on past towards a small baseball ground.

As I look at the now dark field I remember the group of young boys I saw playing on the grass earlier that day, baseball bat and mitts at the ready, looks of intense concentration on their perspiring faces. I walk slowly around the space and climb the concrete stands on the far side, and sit behind the tall fence. It’s very dark here and I look over at the lit up park across from me.

I have on my noise cancelling headphones, and as the song I’m listening to comes to an end a deafening silence envelops me. I sit there, almost in a trance, lost in my own head. It’s only when I see the fireworks burst into the sky in front of me that I realize I can’t hear anything. Slowly I lift my headphones from my ears and the sounds around me rush in.

It’s Moon Festival in Taiwan, a Mid-Autumn celebration, and the air is filled with noise – children playing, families barbecuing in the streets, fire crackers that sound like gun shots ringing out in the distance. I drop my headphones back onto my head and it all goes quiet again. Suddenly something strikes me – this is what depression is like.

Sitting alone in my dark corner of the world I watch everyone living around me. I see the joy, I see the excitement, I see the colours of the fireworks – but I can hear none of it. Like Plath in her bell jar I am cruelly cut off – able to look but not fully experience.

Sighing, I pull off my headphones completely and hang them around my neck. As I walk home I still can’t hear a thing.

Pills 

A pill to get me out of bed

And clear the blinding mist

One to calm my racing heart

And unclench my aching fist

More to soften sharpest moods

And keep me standing tall

Another to send me off to sleep

And catch me as I fall 

Noise 

Atop the highest peak 

I glimpse the life I could have

I watch it slip away 

As I fall back down to where I live

I can’t hear the music anymore

Only the noise 

Merry-go-round

So remember that crash I thought I had cleverly outrun? Yeah… it caught up to me today.

It happened this morning when I was walking to meet a friend for breakfast. It snuck up behind me, tapped me on the shoulder and punched me in the face as I turned around.

The balmy air turned thick and soupy, and I felt my body fill with lead and slow down. I mean literally slow down. The short walk to the cafe became an eternity.

I teared up when my friend asked me how I was. She hastily gave me some tissues off the table – which had the opposite effect to what I think she would have liked.

During our meal I felt the fog in my brain crawl down my throat and nestle into the pit of my stomach. I spent the rest of my day fighting back tears as I tried to work.

I attempted to write a poem about what I am feeling (the past few days I’ve been churning them out with ease) but all I could come up with was this junk:

 

Dizzily spinning in circles 

No pause to catch your breath

One minute you’re playing in sunshine

The next you’re dancing with death

 

Never mind that lingering nausea

Or that sinking pit at your core

This is the ride you’ve been given

This is your mind at war

 

Don’t be fooled by your feelings

Or the love that you think you’ve found

In the end this illness is all that is real 

Just you and your merry-go-round


Nothing spells strange better than stumbling home after work openly weeping in the bustling streets. I don’t know why this shit still surprises me.

Every time I start to feel good I think that it’s finally over – that I’ve found the winning formula and stabilized. I’m starting to think it’s a pipe dream.

Untitled 

An essence lives within me

Unique in every way

Its fire does fill my heart and soul

Changing my night to day


Its touch is warm and firm

Its light a gentle guide

It shows me things I’ve never seen

And pulls them deep inside

 
With certainty I know

That I’m the only one

Who feels this way, who is so sure

As special as the sun

 
Yet at times the flame does flicker

And stops and starts to sway

Its magic lost when looked at

Or compared in any way

 
I am but one of many

Not one in millions seen

The originality of me

Has here forever been

 
I can draw comfort from this fact

Knowing I’m not alone

Yet frustration rears its ugly head

And cuts me to the bone

 
How can others look upon me

And know what lives within?

How do they see my sparkle

And insist it has a twin?

 
My ego rocks my steady boat

And churns the calming seas

I must resist, I know this twist

I rise up from my knees

People

People are everywhere. In Taiwan you can go outside at any hour of the day or night and encounter them.

One of the strangest things I’ve ever experienced in this world is the loneliness that sometimes lives inside my heart even when I am surrounded by other human beings. It’s suffocating.

Depression doesn’t care if you are safe and warm on dry land; it will find you and it will drown you.

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