hey, maybe that’s too harsh.

I catch myself before it’s too late. It’s probably a talent. I catch myself thinking, “stupid, stupid, stupid” because I forgot to do that one thing I said I would do. Mid self deprecating thought I stop and go, “hey, maybe that’s too harsh.”

I find myself doing this all too often, and it usually is a sign that I’m falling into a pit of depression yet again. If I catch myself soon enough, I can manage to escape that deep, dark pit of emotional turmoil that is a depressive episode and continue on as a normal human. Sometimes, more often than I’d like to admit, I don’t realize it until I’m a month deep, surrounded by isolation and self-destructive tendencies.

I find myself laying on my floor at 1 am, lights off, listening to a playlist of mopey songs singing about how terrible everything in their lives are. It’s usually in a moment like this that I come to the realization of, “oh, right. I’m depressed again.”

I’ve been down so many times, I know how to deal with it. When you’ve been depressed for nearly a decade, coming out of a depressive episode becomes a regular practice. Everyone’s brain works differently, but for me that’s usually taking a day or two for myself. I’ll do whatever it is I want to do that day and not feel guilty for it. Because once you’re that deep in it, you should not feel guilty for taking a day to just watch your favorite feel-good show on Netflix or sit outside with a cup of tea and watch the wind blow through the trees.

Coming out of it isn’t always a pretty sight, either. It takes time, just like it took time to fall into it. I’ll catch myself along the way isolating or overreacting and I just take a step back and rewire my brain into Positivity Mode again.

Down again

It’s not that I have no one who cares,

it’s not that no one would comfort me in a moment of despair,

it’s the overwhelming feeling of not being able to reach out

in fear of being too much or an inconvenience.

I don’t want to burden anyone with my depressive episode;

when I’m sad, no one should have to deal with me than me.

They tell me I’m not a burden, that they really do love me,

but when I’m so deep in a pit of self-loathing depression,

it’s hard to believe anyone could ever care enough.

These fits of depression come out of the blue full force sometimes,

it’s not always easy to catch before I’m lying on the floor at 2 am,

headphones in, lights off, self-deprecating thoughts accumulating rapidly.

I want to believe I’ve gotten better at catching myself before it’s too late.

Some days are harder than others,

but I know I’ll pick myself up again.

I’ll survive this no matter how hard it gets,

I won’t let this sadness swallow me whole.

When the sun shines, I’ll let it

and when the rain comes, I’ll bring an umbrella.

Writing, School, and my Mental Health

Writing in my free time

As I have mentioned, my ultimate career goal is to be a published author- preferably a self-sustaining one. I have a lot of ideas ruminating for what genre I want to be my main focus, and that’s something I’ve always struggled with. There’s so many types of fiction and they’re all so fun to write. I’m working on a few different stories right now, and they’re wildly different from each other.

With the summer coming up, I’m going to be working more, and that will probably hinder my writing. Summers get incredibly hectic and exhausting, leaving me braindead with little motivation to write. I’ll be setting aside a day or two a week just for writing, though, and that’s really what will be getting me through the chaos of tourist season.

School

School has been going well so far, it started the first week in May and I really don’t have many complaints so far. It’s my first class after transferring and it’s a very simple history class. It’s been easy so far, and that’s coming from someone who has never really excelled in any history class. I didn’t necessarily do bad, I just never put in much effort.

The class is taking up more of my time than I’d like, though. I’ve always struggled with writing while I’m in school and I was hoping since I’m only taking one course, I would find the time to write more. So far, I’d like to think that’s true. This website has been a good motivation to continue creating, and I’m glad I have yet to slow down too much with my writing. Not to mention, it feels good to finally have my work out there and not just crowding my documents folder on my laptop.

Mental health

For the last year, I’ve been focusing a lot of my free time on bettering myself mentally and emotionally. I’ve been learning my limits, knowing when to give myself a break and when I just need a little push. It’s been mostly successful, but I still have moments where I feel overwhelmed and just want to start everything over or go live in a cave for a month or two.

When I get to that point, I know I’ve pushed myself too far and need a break from it all. I’ll typically give myself a relaxing night in with a cup of tea and a good show and restrict myself from doing anything too strenuous. I’ll let myself do something that I typically wouldn’t do because it doesn’t feel “productive enough.” I won’t get upset with myself for needing a day off because there’s nothing wrong with that. As someone who has had mental health problems for years, I just need a little extra cushion sometimes and that’s okay.

Knowing myself and knowing my limits has been the biggest help on me getting healthier. Listening to my body when it needs something, whether it be more sleep, something to eat, or to relax and not overwork myself, has made me a generally happier person. For a while, I never thought I’d make it to the point where I feel okay most of the time, and I’m proud of myself.

Relief

The warm evening summer sun

interrupted by gentle breezes,

flowing through the trees

and through your hair.

The breeze is a relief,

the sun, though setting, burns bright.

When the wind blows,

it takes with it any sense of doubt

and any negative feelings we once had.

 

We stand in the forest,

surrounded by trees and bushes,

a plethora of greens and browns and yellows.

We’re barefoot, but only for a moment,

just to sink our feet deep into the soil,

root ourselves in the same dirt these trees use,

and maybe understand how they can stand so tall

in a world that doesn’t seem to want them.

 

I feel connected to the forest,

in the summer at dusk.

I feel as though I, too, will soon become cold and restless,

mischievous creatures will stir within me.

But there’s a beauty in the silent forest nights,

though most fear to approach the darkened woods,

those who do will find it’s calm and eternal;

it’s not out to get you, it just wants to survive.

It just wants to grow, to thrive

and as far as I’m concerned,

that’s all anyone else wants.

invincible

There’s something beautiful about a big open field; I used to dream about them. The endless green grass, wild flowers growing arbitrarily, wandering around them aimlessly. It’s a kind of calm bliss only achievable in a big open field, unaccompanied on a sunlit day. Maybe it’s something to do with how I spent my childhood, often around fields of lush grass and the soft sound of people just out of sight. Maybe that’s why I have such an affinity for them, they bring back fond memories from a time I only vaguely remember.

A gentle breeze passes, I feel sempiternal, unbreakable, invincible. Laying in the grass, I listen to the birds sing, the faint sounds of cars and people, just far enough away to not be bothersome, but still close enough so I don’t feel alone. I’m at peace, I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.

Simpler Times

There’s something about nostalgia

I obsess over it.

Most of my tattoos are tied to it,

half of my wardrobe is related to it.

I attach myself to the past,

it’s difficult to let it go,

it’s too easy to reflect on,

to reminisce about the Simpler Times.

I find myself playing old games from my childhood,

going for walks where I spent so much time as a child,

but why?

I’m often let down,

the games aren’t what they used to be,

the walks cluttered with litter and nosy people,

but I find myself drawn to it all.

Maybe it’s something to do with the simplicity of it

and how nothing ever seems as simple as back then.

It’s beautiful in the saddest fashion,

how I will never again relive those memories,

and every day they’ll fade more

until I hardly remember them at all.

Empty

“What happens now?”

“You can go.”

Where was I supposed to go? We were sitting in his car, in a parking lot miles from my house. I didn’t move. I couldn’t remember how to. I wasn’t sure I had control over my body anymore.

He shifted into drive and brought me home. The drive was just a few miles, but it felt cross-country. We sat in silence the whole way. The radio had been playing quietly, but he shut it off without saying a word.

“Ok.” He said softly, barely audible.

I opened my mouth to speak, but found no words. Nodding, I left.

(not) rock bottom

I exhaled and found myself

twelve feet deep,

surrounded by seaweed and crabs.

They say not to sink too low,

but if means I can breathe again,

I’d find Atlantis in the abyss.

I’m sitting on the ocean floor,

not too deep that I’ll drown

just enough to feel the waves pull me around.

I’d kill to feel anything these days,

a little clarity is all I ask.

They told me I need to cleanse my soul

so, I sank to the sandy floor.

Now I can’t breathe or think,

and time is running out.

This isn’t where I wanted to be at 21,

drowning in stress and loneliness.

I feel the seaweed wrap around my legs,

tighter every second

until I accept defeat.

This isn’t rock bottom,

but I can’t sink any lower.

Summer Nostalgia

I live by the beach, on the little peninsula of eastern Massachusetts known as Cape Cod. I have mixed feelings about living here; it’s expensive, summers are hectic and infested with tourists, winters are slow and dull. I’m not a huge fan of the beach, either, but the other night I was driving home from work, windows down since it’s finally warm enough for that, and I smelled the salt water marsh. It brought back a flood of memories and an overwhelming feeling of nostalgia.

I’ve been dreaming about moving off cape for years now; it’s not exactly plausible, but it’s a dream of mine. But when I smelled the salt water, a part of me hesitated. I vividly remembered sitting on a towel on the crowded beach as a child. I remembered playing in the hot sand, picking up handfuls of it and letting it soothingly, slowly trickle off my hands and back onto the beach. I remembered the smell of the ocean, the salty air, taking that first step on the beach in my flip flops. The sand tough to walk on, so I quickly slip my shoes off and feel the hot sand on my bare feet, my brother and I running to an open spot, perfect for us to put our blankets down on.

I reminisced on the hot beating summer sun, soothed only by the winds that come and go. Laying out in the sun until we were sweating, bored, and needed to cool down in the ocean. Taking that first dip in the water, finally cool. Crouching down in the knee-deep water so as to submerge ourselves in the water as soon as possible, holding our heads just above the water as we crawl deeper into the ocean. Finally, we can stand comfortably in shoulder-deep water, laughing and splashing each other.

We’d plug our noses and dip our heads under the water for as long as we can, holding a contest for who can stay under longer. My brother shows me how he can do a flip under the water, and I show him I can do a handstand. Our mom tells us to be careful. We laugh and play for a while, until our hands get wrinkly and our stomachs are rumbling for lunch.

Lost in daydreams of my childhood, I came back to real life and realized I had already driven all the way home. I shook my head at the fact that one smell can bring back memories I haven’t thought about in years. Sure, I still want to move off cape, and I think more seriously about it every day, but I’d be lying if I said I won’t miss it. I’ve lived here my whole life, my entire childhood was spent on the beach, baseball fields, the bike path, and my own backyard. When I leave, I’ll be leaving all these memories. Though I don’t have set in stone plans to move any time soon, I’ve been extra nostalgic lately as I drive down the streets I know by heart, worrying someday I might forget them.

Someday, I’ll be coming back to visit my parents, after living somewhere else for years, and I might need directions to go to the grocery store that I currently go to on a weekly basis. I might not remember the name of the street the baseball fields I used to spend summers at. I might be reminiscing with a friend on our childhoods and I won’t be able to remember the name of that park we had so many picnics at, the one that was a dog park for a week a few years ago. We brought our dog Lily there and she made so many friends that week. What if I forget that even happened?

I get that it’s a part of moving on, growing up, I know I’ll make more memories wherever I move, and I’ll know those streets like I know these ones, I just can’t help but feel nostalgic. All these memories made me into the person I am today, part of me worries I’ll lose the childlike wonder I still have if I move away and forget my past.

Things I Love

Warm summer nights,

the heat of the blazing sun has subsided,

but the warmth still radiates.

Sitting around a campfire,

conversing with friends.

 

Going to sleep after a productive day,

knowing I’m loved and cared for

even though I have my flaws,

knowing my friends don’t mind

they have their own flaws too

and that’s what makes us unique.

 

Being able to reflect on the past,

without being burdened by it’s misfortunes

Knowing I’m in a better place now than I was years past

and being thankful for the bad times as well as the good

because now I know how bad it can get,

so these little problems I encounter

they don’t seem so bad anymore.

Sure, sometimes life still gets me down,

but now I’ve a whole array of skills to deal with it.

 

Having a cookout on a mild day,

the shining sun and friends’ laughter filling the air.

Sunsets that turn the sky shades of pink and purple.

Looking up at the sky on a cloudless night,

stars twinkling as we relish in their beauty,

the moon full and illuminating the surroundings.

Knowing this isn’t time wasted,

I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.