Today I silently screamed around the supermarket
I silently screamed around the supermarket:
Wrestling with doubt as I tried to decide which brand of beans to purchase,
The dread tsunami of terror ever rising in my chest.
Not butterflies these – but great armoured beasts –
Trampling with ugly booted hatred on the fragile confidence I fake,
Until the shell of me wandered on automatic pilot into the frozen food aisle,
Picking up Petits Pois even as scattered chunks of my soul remained in “Canned Vegetables and Pasta“.
And then the tiredness – the brain-deadness, body-wastedness, emotionally-drainedness of it all,
The voices, rabid in their persistence,
“you are a life-sucker, a burden to those you love, a freak to everyone else“.
And so I wear my peace as a shattered mask,
Hoping that the mantra of “I’m fine” will metamorphose into something solid and true.
And sometimes it does.
And sometimes it won’t.
And sometimes it remains caught between reality and falsehood,
And my tired mental bones rise once more from the bed,
And a bark back at the Dog until he cowers behind the sofa,
Or I throw him a big enough stick that he loses interest in my psyche:
For an hour, a day, a week or more.
Perhaps never to return, perhaps silently present.
And I stumble into the self-service lane,
Swipe my goods, present my card,
And wander back into the world, both dead and alive.
All of me present, and
Most of me well.
They Walk Among You
They walk among you:
Silently wrestling inner demons as they order their cappuccino,
Buffeted by internal tsunami of anxiety, exhaustion or nausea,
Scarred by their own hand, scared of their own mind,
Nervously keeping an eye on those keeping an eye on them,
Sleeping too much,
Resigned to the idea of sleep being an unreachable utopia,
Unable to look into an undistorted mirror,
Tormented by inner demons who whisper about their worthlessness.
They walk among you:
With the aid of medicinal cast and crutch,
With strength unmeasurable,
With shame and resignation,
With pride and resolve.
Determined to keep the Black Dog on a leash,
To continue to love others even when they struggle to love self,
To take the next step, and the next,
No matter how hard the effort and minuscule the gain.
We walk among you:
Nine out of ten prisoners,
One in five under 15 year olds,
Two in five of those in retirement accommodation,
More women than men, mostly.
You walk among them:
Those who appear untouched by mental fragility,
Who may be wearing a multitude of masks,
Hiding their own doubt, struggle and fears.
We walk amongst ourselves:
We remain ‘other’,
Only if we determine to clothe ourselves in denial,
And fail to extend the hands of friendship, trust and love.
Links and that:
For more info on the day, and the issues around it, please see here
As ever, I recommend the two videos below as fantastic initial resources for you if you a) suffer from depression and/or b) love or care for someone who does – [It’s well worth getting the books the videos are based on too!]