Idle Fantasy

I wonder about your lips
As I pretend not to glance at them
Slightly parted between conversation
I close my eyes
Run the tip of my tongue
Against my own skin
Buzzing and tingling in anticipation
I imagine your lips pressed against mine
In exploratory union
A moment that lasts forever
The world shrinks down to two heartbeats
I forget to breathe
Lost in the fantasy
My body frozen
Until you look at me with a question
On those lips
But your eyes dart to the tip of my tongue
As it rests just so
Pretending to be your lips
And I wonder
As I watch you look at me
With captivated eyes
If you’re fantasizing about my lips
As I have fantasized
About yours

Addendum: Victories

Victories is a poem based on a journal entry from last year, mixed with thoughts and emotions from journal entries this year, about the worst of my depression. I sought help and am here today to share my story because of that. In posting these poems that might seem urgent or dark, as if I’m in crisis, I’m really just trying to share my story because so often the stories of the mentally ill are left in darkness. I want to be vulnerable, because for so long I believed any indication of vulnerability would break me.

I believe some people in my life will be shocked to learn that I’ve struggled with suicide ideation quite frequently since I was sixteen. I would like to assure everyone that I have never self-harmed and don’t believe I will. However, I don’t believe self-harming is something to be ashamed of, even though it is a violence against yourself and your body. I’m not condemning those that do, those who have, or those who will.

I have tried to kill myself and I failed. I was eighteen. I have not tried since. I will not go into the details and I will probably never share that story on an open platform.

I still have days where the saying, “The best thing I can say about myself is I didn’t kill myself” is true. I will continue to have those days unless my brain is magically given a “normal” potion – whatever that would mean. I don’t say this to alarm anyone. I say this to be truthful, to be open. To be vulnerable and to maybe, just maybe, show someone else struggling with a similar situation that their feelings and thoughts aren’t shameful or something to hide.

I say this because this is my life, for better or worse. And while the dark periods can be so, so dark, the light periods are always coming. The darkness never lasts in perpetuity.

Victories

The most I can say for myself today is
I didn’t kill myself
I stopped taking my medication
Because I was tired of observing my emotions through a brick wall made of fog
I’m still alive
Because for yet another day I’ve conquered the desire
To strip myself of my own life
I’ll add this battle to hidden tally on my wall
Hidden where others can’t see it
A scar so perfect no one knows it’s there

The Chasm

This month I shine
I fall in love with everyone around me
Nothing is too big or too much or too scary
Everything is divine

This month I stumble
The garden shed of my existence is bereft of seed
On the inside I bleed
My emotional current operates silently, without a rumble

I oscillate, never knowing how long each phase will linger
Or how each phase will abandon me
Wondering who I am and who I’ll be
Or if I’ll recognize the warning sign: danger

The future is an abyss
A place I cannot fathom
I’m afraid to jump, afraid I’ll miss
Yet still I jump across the chasm

Anxiety Wears An Invisibility Cloak

A cloak that’s so good, in fact, that whenever I say “I have severe anxiety” people are AMAZED and SHOCKED because, “you’re so together.”

I’m not. Maybe one day out of ten, I’m together. And those are a damn good ten days if one of them is amazing. And by amazing, I mean I’d classify my anxiety as a four or below for the daily average on a scale of one to ten.

I’m just, like so many other people I’ve come to know who also have anxiety and depression, spectacularly good at appearing like I’ve got my shit together. Because of my anxiety. You see, my anxiety makes me so anxious about my own axiety that it turns into this terrible feedback loop of anxiety that never ends. This my thought process on any given day when it comes to anxiety and how people perceive me:

  • I’m really anxious today
  • (What else is new)
  • It’s obvious to everyone, even the people who don’t know me
  • They’re going to talk about it and treat me weird
  • OH NO
  • They’re gonna ask the question the dreaded question the ARE YOU OKAY question
  • How the fuck do I answer that question what do I say???!!?
  • Okay no one  has asked me the question
  • Why haven’t they ask
  • They don’t care
  • Life is nothing
  • I need to appear collected
  • I don’t want to be treated like I’m broken
  • I am broken though maybe they should treat me that way
  • But then I’ll cry
  • Will I cry?
  • Yeah I’ll cry are you kidding I cry when babies smile at me
  • I don’t want to cry everyone will know and then I’ll be THAT PERSON
  • Okay so, what do we do
  • Calm projected aura of calm and togetherness
  • If I act normal they’ll treat me like normal
  • And then maybe I’ll BE normal
  • That’s how that confidence thing goes, right?
  • ACT CONFIDENT BE CONFIDENT
  • ACT TOGETHER BE TOGETHER
  • Except this didn’t work yesterday
  • But it takes time I should do it again
  • I should commit to the task of self betterment
  • And in the mean time everyone will think I’m alright and then some day I WILL be alright and no one will have ever known

Except, as I’ve come to realize, no one ever knowing is exactly my problem. No one ever knowing the extent of my mental suffering and the mental gymnastics I do on a daily basis and how terribly draining that is will ever know any of those things because I don’t share them. And because I don’t share them, I get told every day how RATIONAL and CALM and TOGETHER I am and those words have done me far more damage than someone asking me if I’m okay.

But a part of my brain has a tremendously hard time accepting this fact. It’s so foreign because I’ve lived this way for so long. People mistake if for social anxiety because when I’m really anxious and strung out I avoid people because that’s what I do because I’m not together and I’m not okay and I’m not equipped to deal and the spoons in my jar have run out, but social anxiety is less terrible and more cute. And I do have social anxiety but it’s a part of my overall general anxiety, and it’s not the sole cause. It’s not that I’m not putting myself out there enough and just need to get used to it, acclimate like one has to acclimate to a higher altitude.

Because my issue is that my brain takes all these scenarios and treats them all as if they’re LIFE THREATENING. I go from zero to sixty faster than one of those fancy racing mustangs. And some days I wake up already doing sixty, for seemingly no reason at all, and I have to work hard to calm myself and rationalize the anxiety down to a simmer from a hard boil.

Anxiety is exhausting.

But it’s more exhausting to act like nothing is wrong at all. It’s a micro-aggression I’ve committed against myself: appearing like normal so that I’m treated like normal. It hurts me more than I can say when someone compliments me on how well I’m doing. But no one sees or hears about the Olympic gold medals I’ve won every day in the fine art of masquerading my anxiety (and, by extension, depression) because they weren’t told about the convention. There weren’t any tickets or vending machines or hot dogs with packets of ketchup being offered, no announcements our spectacular commercials to look forward to. It’s a sport of silence, a sport of being unseen.

And it’s one I excel at.

So here I am, attempting to shed the invisibility cloak. Because I’m not just doing myself a disservice, I’m doing a disservice to everyone who loves and cares about me by keeping quiet and performing my gymnastics in the shadows, hoping no one notices.