this continues to surprise me

i suffer (i sUfFeR) with depression and i am a writer. i am a writer who likes to share their work and sometimes that can become draining causing burnout – sharing on social media, updating a blog, Patreon posts, readings, sending subs out to publications etc.

if you’re a writer who likes to share their work, self-promotion is very important. It can consume you. i don’t do much of it anymore because of my aforementioned depression.

When i am depressed i do not want to share my writing. i don’t even want to write. i don’t want to do anything.

It can be difficult to recognise when you have stopped sharing.

i only notice when i have edited some of my poems, i have liked them, and i felt like sharing them. Then i’m like wait i want to share something new? and i realise it has been a while since i really wanted to do that. For me, sharing my poems is about connection. One thing you don’t want to do when depressed is be connecting with people. There’s a disconnect. And wanting to share signifies i want to be vulnerable and open again. 

i feel with depression so much shit builds up – it’s like a dam waiting to burst. And it’s a relief to be able to finally let it out. Which with poetry is a great combination. Any writing.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

The Worst Year of my Life

Hello. I hope you are ok.

I was going through my blog recently and editing some older posts or deleting them altogether. I cannot remember why but I changed my blog name a few times during this period. This blog starts at 2018 and right through to now.

I find my depression is so evident in this blog. There are huge gaps where I don’t post for weeks, and when I do – the quality of the post is not great. Apologies. I was trying to do a regular interview series called 4 questions with, which I stuck with and I am proud of. But in terms of my theme and the look of my blog, I had no idea. 2018 was the worst year of my life in recent memory. 2020 is trying hard to compete with it. in 2018 I started to realise and process what had happened to me when I was 17/18 years old. Sexual assault and rape. It was like a stuck record had suddenly started to find its groove and play again. The memories I had made me feel violated; any good memories felt tainted. My anxiety was crippling. My depression was too. I lost the habit of washing and relearning that was fucking hard. I did not leave the flat much at all, certainly not by myself. I tried, but I would get out of breath by the time I had gotten to the end of my road. I pushed and pushed myself, because I still had this thought in my head that I had to work, work, work. Otherwise I was failing and lazy. To be honest, a walk to the end of the road should have felt more like a victory at the time. That’s why I also struggled to blog because I had no Wi-Fi in my flat and I could only use the Wi-Fi in my public library. Obviously, getting to the library was difficult. I had to get my boyfriend to come with me and he was not always a willing participant. I could not settle in the library. if there was too much noise, it set my nerves on edge. I would lose motivation quickly. The library did not feel safe. Being around unpredictable people felt like being on a ship during a storm. The one place that did feel safe was my bedroom.


I look at some of the books on my blog at that time, books I was looking forward to reading, and I still haven’t read them. That makes me think – how much time have I lost feeling stuck and being sick? So much stuff collected and collected. I am now 25 years old and I could not tell you what I have done in these last 5 years. Apart from rot in my bed. I do wonder how on earth I am still alive. I have treated my body awfully and it hasn’t broken down yet. Every time I have tried to destroy myself, my body has refused to die. Bodies are pretty amazing, with what they can do.

Experiencing depression as a teenager

When I moved from primary school to secondary and was required to wear a blazer as part of the uniform, my mum purchased a blazer that was oversized and would last. Which meant by the time I was 13 or 14, and hitting puberty, it fitted a little snug. This was a common snag with my trousers too. I didn’t feel I could go to my mum and ask her to purchase me a uniform that was in a bigger size. There were a lot of things I felt that I could not go to my mum and talk to her about. And this was one of those things that became a problem that snowballed quickly.

I did not enjoy puberty. I hated my body. The clothes that I had to wear were uncomfortable and I felt did not give me protection. I felt vulnerable. I was only allowed in the winter to have a jumper on underneath my blazer and over my white shirt. It had to be removed in class. I didn’t wear a coat. Coats were not cool. Had to carry them around school all day. Not convenient either. That jumper fitted, it felt comfortable and it was a relief to have it.

I did not feel I could express myself. I grew frustrated that I had little control or choice. This was one strand of a whole bunch of balloons I was trying to keep a grip on. My depression grew and grew when I was a teenager. My anxiety caused me to overthink everything. Something as a small as a blazer was an issue. I didn’t understand this then. I thought I had to put up with discomfort.

A bigger issue was how depression was warping my thoughts. It became the default to look up at tall buildings and think of throwing myself off of the edge. I did not care for road safety. As far as I was concerned the car could see me and it had all the time in the world to stop. If it ran me over, who cared. I walked into school and every morning I wished a bomb would have been dropped onto it the night before. I could look at my reflection in the mirror and with no doubt in my mind be able to say to myself I hate you and mean it. I hated myself. I hated that I was every day waking up feeling like shit and then having to attend school, which compounded the feelings I had of feeling like shit. I became obsessed with little things like blazers because I could hang my hopes on in the future maybe being able to have something that would be perfect.

I could not talk to anyone. Everything in my mind became a secret. I had become so used to having the mickey taken out of me, I did not want to share any of my thoughts. I felt my voice did not matter. My social ineptitude became much worse as a teenager. I could not relate to those around me. It made me resent them. It became not about what was good about me, but what was I lacking that I could not have friends or relationships with the girls in my class. Why was I not interested in boys or make-up? What kind of freak was I that I was instead obsessed with Doctor Who and James Dean? (There’s nothing wrong with being different!)

I had a catchphrase as a teenager. It became something I said to everything. It was I don’t care. I didn’t care. Wow, you think not caring gives you freedom. It did not give me any. I fought everything because I did not care. I was an arsehole. You could have asked me if I was left-handed or right-handed and the answer would have been I don’t care. I wasn’t sure of anything.

I was fucking miserable as a teenager. I try to not think about it because if I do, it gives me bad dreams. Of walking those endless school corridors, my footsteps echoing. I try to remember I didn’t know what was going on then and my teachers and my parents did what the protocols were to protect me. They didn’t know what was going on either. I was in the wrong place, trying to connect with the wrong people. It was no one’s fault; I was ill, and it was what it was.

Poem. Solitary.

solitary


walk out –

walk around town –

hood up &head bowed –

feeling so low today –

the canal is temptation –

stick to the towpaths –

everything has remained the same –

even after rain –

the paths are slick – wet – sludge

and the gate metal – slips – against my palm –

the branches of the trees – droop – lower – and glisten –

will the changes happen – take place –

a habit more than anything –

following the paths that i am so familiar with –

finding trees older than i –

creatures more wild than i –

the ghostly shapes of playground apparatus –

shrouded in an evening fog beginning to gather –

assurances of earth and nature –

i need before returning

to locked doors, enforced silence and conformity.

Photo by Sid Ali on Pexels.com

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This poem was written when I was 17/18 years old and edited now as a 25 year old. I wrote many poems then that were similar to this. I did not have a focus at that age. School and depression had left me vulnerable. I wandered and used the toilets in supermarkets and ate in McDonalds and wrote poetry. I was suicidal. It felt as if the pressure of school had left me and not having the routine of school also left me – at a loose end. I was still isolated too, but not being in school and having gotten used to it, that didn’t bother me too much. I was self-sufficient.  I eventually joined college and got into a romantic relationship that I shouldn’t have, because it was toxic. The relationship smashed the barriers of protection I had built around myself. There will be more poems on that.


where i have been

do you ever feel like you want to hide yourself away from the world?

shut the curtains, put on yr baggiest tshirt

& climb into bed

because you feel too stupid too ugly too at odds with the world.

These were the last words I wrote, before I shut down my laptop and stopped having an interest in life. I had even forgotten the password to my laptop. I have been so depressed this month week year. My bathroom is looking disgusting. August, my birthday month, was shit. I am not looking forward to the autumn or winter because SAD makes its annual appearance. If it is going to be as bad as this depression was then Lord knows what is going to happen to me. I should hibernate until next March.

I regained some motivation for blogging and what happens? My Wi-Fi goes missing. Not that that is new. My Wi-Fi is useless.

I am struggling with the thought I am now 25 and my life is still in pieces. I don’t know what I’m doing. It is like I am trying to get out of this stuck position, but the head and the body are not together on that. It feels like there’s nobody who can help because I’m an adult and should have gotten my life together by now. I do realise my anxiety is also very limiting. I think about how close I am to poverty, death, homelessness. If I don’t figure shit out then I am not going anywhere but down. How do you even start to fix that when depression leaves you feeling dead inside?