Nightmare

It’s time
To take the final exam
But I missed the review
Didn’t study!

And I don’t even
Have the right test
Somehow it’s late
I can’t concentrate

My mind
Has turned
To mush

Let’s coordinate!
A dual wedding
Two couples, two ceremonies
One reception

But you’ve already been married and
Our bridal parties are too big and
Our ceremony is already long and
We don’t want to compromise!

Seeing through the eyes
Of a foster child
He tries to explain his life
To a family
That will never accept him

“Down the toilets there is a world
Inexplicably sad and scary”
And I travel down past
Real excrement into

The excrement of the mind where
Everything is red static and
Badly drawn babies with sharp teeth
Fly at me; try to eat

And I try to run away
But everything is spinning
Warping into ellipses
Stretching, rotating sideways

Even when I think I am awake!
There is no escape!
Forever doomed to wander
This red world

Re: Groundhog Day

But the sun is too bright;
It sears my eyes
And hurts my head
Already heavy with grief.

But the breeze is too cold;
It tears off my skin
Sends chills down my spine
Crushed by the weight.

I cannot smell the smells that
Fill you with so much wonder.
All I see is pain.
All I feel is sorrow.

I want to go outside
And know the joy of a
Spring day,
But when

I close my eyes I
See my uncle grilling
Smiling, laughing
Hugging me

Lying there with eyes closed
Lips turned down
Hands folded, cold and stiff
Still breathing.

I call but he won’t answer.
I don’t know what to say.
One chance to share my family’s
Grief

But autopilot kicks
In and all I say is “Good”
And all I do is smile!
It’s disgusting! I can’t even

Cry and I
Want to rip
Out my heart
And my eyes!

….

So much easier
To watch an image
Of an image
Of an image

That is not
My
Memory.

Groundhog Day

You fool!
What is with you and that game?!
You play and play for hours on end
And every day is
Identical.

You think I am old and blind,
But I know:
You watch an image of a human
Play with her image of a pet
Images are all you see!

What about ME!?
I’m here!
Flesh and blood and FUR
And so much more
I need your love!

You’ve talked about walking
Walk with me!
I love to get out
Smell the world
And know you are right beside me.

But you sit and you stare and complain.
I know that you’re hurting
Your arm, every day
With that mouse.
Get out of the house!

They do the same thing every day,
And we repeat the same harmony.
I bark. You groan
And thrash like the dead
And shamble around reluctantly.

Blind
To the warmth of the sun on your face
A cool breeze to play
All these wonderful smells –
I could wallow in them all day.

I just need you.

You know how it feels
To be abandoned.

Don’t feed that fear!

Walk with me.

Taking off the Mask

I talked with my academic adviser yesterday. I told him about the depression, the dangerous ways I’d beat myself up after class, feeling like I really need to just focus on taking care of myself right now. I even told him my fear: that if I admitted to my struggle with mental illness, I’d be kicked out of my academic program.

His primary concern was, “What are you doing to take care of yourself?” He seemed relieved when I told him I was already seeing a therapist and psychiatrist. He put my fear to rest: the only way I’d get kicked out is if I did something to harm others. And he said that some of the best, brightest, and most influential people in our field have had depression.

I’ll have to wait 2 years to re-take the courses I dropped, but that gives me a good amount of time to heal. I can work on my thesis next academic year, to placate the part of me who doesn’t understand that taking care of my health needs is not spending 2 years being “entirely unproductive” – or, worse, outright wasting them. I have a topic I feel pretty passionate about, and there’s room to change or adjust one’s topic during the first semester. I think I’ll be ready – and excited – to start this work in the fall.

I was able to speak honestly about my mental illness with the person who has the most power to keep me from entering my chosen career – the “gatekeeper,” if you will. If anything, I think he appreciated my honesty. This lifts a huge burden from my shoulders; I feel like I can take off the mask I’ve been wearing for most of my life – at least, when wearing it becomes too uncomfortable. I’m not ready to let go of it entirely, nor is that necessarily wise.

But to let it down from time to time
To feel the wind on my face
To allow the tears to flow freely

To only have to expend as much energy
As it takes to get through the day
And not the extra I need
To look like I’m okay

Having permission
To let go of the flimsy barracade
And let the Darkness wash over me
All the emotions held at bay

Now
I can finally
Breathe

SIMulated Haiku

Supernatural sims
Are taking over the town:
Witch, Vampire, Fae.

Cast a spell for love,
But hate emerges instead;
Soon you are a toad!

Who will kiss the toad?
Not I – playing with magic.
House burns to the ground.

What do we have if
Not love? I’ll cast once again.
Magical romance.

Kiss the toad now please.
Is he a prince? No – but wait!
He is the Doctor!

Wish

To fade into the night
Like the last rays
Of the setting sun

Light waning
Colors shading
All to black

The relief of
Letting go
Gentle
Into that Darkness

Where our greatest fears
Pain
Dashed hopes
Longings

Guilt and anger
Even rage
Sorrow

All abide their time
Waiting
To Remember

A house of flesh
A beating heart
The wind against my skin
A tear falls from my eye
The ground beneath my feet

Melting
Swirling
Raging
Storming

Falling down
Into the Deep
Holding
Comfort of the Earth

Eyes close
Muscles relax
A dreamless sleep