At 14, I struggled with crippling depression that landed me in the hospital. Shortly after being released, I wrote this poem. When I wrote the first manuscript to this piece, I ended with "It is too late, the walls have closed". Yet, when I picked it up again later that day, I continued to write until I uncovered the anxieties that were at the root of my problems. This process allowed me to see my life honestly and clearly for the first time since depression struck.
When I completed this poem, I swore to myself that I would fight this disease and I would win. It has been three years, and I have been depression free since. In 2018, I published this piece in the University of Houston's Bayou Review.
The walls around me are closing in
and I don’t know if I can get through
To get out in time.
The shards of glass
Pierce into my skin,
But I am numb to that pain.
That’s not the problem.
That’s not what hurts.
Because really, there are no walls.
Nobody is operating an on and off switch
To control the doors that hold me captive.
It is my mind that allows these
‘Walls’ to do so.
What hurts is not being crushed by the might Of the walls.
It is the not knowing.
Do I let it happen, do I let go?
Or do I put on armor, do I stay strong?
Am I to control my mind
Or to allow my mind to control me.
What is scary-
What truly raises my hairs,
Tempts my legs to shake
Voice to break
& Heart to ache
Is how I convince myself
I do not know. When I do.
It is in my power.
The decisions are all mine to make.
The fact is, my mind and my soul are drifting apart
It’s a familiar feeling, as if letting go of a toxic love.
I can never truly part from this conscience.
It is within me. I am within it.
My mind will always whisper
It is my spirit that is yelling inside to myself
Begging, shouting, that this is not me.
Crying for me to stop.
My soul is the angel on my shoulder
My mind is the devil’s workshop
My soul is too kind to brew a war,
Yet far too strong to allow the devil to win.
The angel has her own battle to overcome.
How far can she push herself
Till the choice she makes
Is the wrong one?
The devil has no such defining limits-
But he is not as strong as my angel’s might.
As I control them both,
They are of their own will.
They are the excuses behind the choices
That are up to me.
What keeps me up at night,
The cause of all this distress is,
My mind over matter ceases to matter.
I have waged this war against myself
And I won’t pull my forces back.
I am fighting both for and against my sanity,
Not knowing which will win.
It is a choice I am making.
It is a choice that has taken over every fiber of my being.
I no longer know who I am,
I feel like a spectator in a fast paced moving world.
To keep up with my own self
And to be at my best in the real world
Is an ordeal i cannot even fathom to uphold.
Life is pain.
Life is knowledge. Art. Music. Love. Travel.
Philosophy. Wisdom. People. Passion.
So, I wonder if the pain I feel is to the point
that all my blessings are overlooked
If this is the case,
I have dug myself in a hole
Deep as the bullet to my head
from my dreams would leave.
I am ungrateful. I am stuck. I am lost, confused, terrified.
But, of what?
I ask myself this and swear it is everything.
Pain is a feeling of thought materialized by one’s own will.
I do not want to die.
This much I admit.
But do I want to live?
Going day by day battling through
Waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel.
If I were to leave today, would the light welcome me with open arms
Or will I dissolve into
Eliminating all the goodness,
As price of my weakness.
I am here for now.
I am not one to experiment.
I have left to experience
Being in love, motherhood,
Attaining glorious success defined by
Infinite happiness, peace, and prosperity.
I wonder to myself if God intends for these Privileges to ever manifest in my life.
Therefore, I am stuck pondering the point,
If i am not destined to reach
The height of life’s greatness.
I remain looking at the world through a Dark, worn down tunnel
With cracks, hinting an eventual landslide
Life will collapse around me someday, and with it I will follow-
Or beat it by making the first move.
To stab myself or to allow the universe to do so?
I may be my worst enemy as my friends, Teachers, and therapists say
They may know me better than I know myself.
I am the one writing to what makes me me
And to remember
Who i truly am.
I am NOT myself.
And i haven’t been for a while.
But, who else could I be?
Perhaps this is the turning point,
That defines my being.
Have I really ever been myself,
Or am I myself now
that I have collided with life’s realities
I have opened myself up to the world,
My vulnerabilities fully exposed
I would never have imagined
The people I would pour my heart out to
Would be the same to rip it to shreds
And step on it.
They can try to apologize for inflicting such wounds
But once you burn paper,
Can you ever piece it back together?
I do not self pity.
But right in this moment I am self loathing
For putting others before me
In order to fulfill my ingrained desire to please people.
Who am I to this world?
A babysitter of the emotions felt by others,
Or a caretaker of my own spirit?
I am the angel.
I am the devil.
My two world often cross each other’s paths.
My mind is thin ice,
On a floating river
There is a waterfall at this river’s end
It is up to me to catch up to it
Coming at it with full force
In order to reclaim
My sacred soul,
That is about to fall.
As I run, a heavy backpack with tight straps
Bounces up and down my aching back.
In this bag, I carry with me
Fear. Self doubt. Regret. Anxiety. Depression.
I feel as though I must run with this burden
Clinging unto my bare, broken, body
The straps won’t come off.
Except maybe they can if i try hard enough.
The question is, will I?
If I give up now
I am allowing this black cloud that hovers over me
To snatch me into its tight clutch.
I can not let these feelings define me.
I am yet to learn who I am and what I am capable of.