Poetry for Depressed People

By | December 27, 2018

I have a therapist who gave me a mindfulness activity to try to stem some of my anxiety. It reminded me of Jessica Jones, and the main character’s list of streets to combat PTSD, but in my case it involved numbers and the senses.

5 things you can see
4 things you can touch
3 things you can hear
2 things you can smell
1 thing you can taste.

But as I practiced it, although I by-passed the anxiety attack, I kept the anxiety. Instead of breaking down once and feeling deflated for an hour, I was in a state of constant fight or flight all day. Instead of making me more mindful, it began to twist into a kind of maudlin poetry.

5 things you can see
4 things you can touch
3 things you can hear
2 things you can smell

1 thing you can taste

The metallic taste of fear.

I tried slow, controlled breaths. Control is not my problem. Or rather, it is, because I control myself at all times. I control the anxiety, I control the grief, I control me. Until it has control over me.

After my eldest brother died, everyone got the flu. I didn’t. I drove from my house to mom’s for two weeks after the wake, certain I would have one more bad event to add to my list.

Don’t worry, there are good things in my event list, too. I have 3 children. I married an amazing spouse who loves me and who allows me to indulge my inner writer. My brother and I have taken martial arts together and gone running together. I’ve gone to Disney seven times or so, and I even got to take my mom to California and Disneyland. I get to volunteer cosplay. I get to take my kids and nieces to comic cons.


5 things I can see
4 things I can touch
3 things I can hear

2 things I can smell

My unwashed body as it gets harder to force myself to shower. The blanket I wrap around myself as I shiver. I get cold with anxiety. I hate to be cold. But I feel it in my bones and then I can’t stop shivering. I bathe in the sink and shake and shiver and wish, sometimes, that I could step in the shower, that I didn’t think I’d collapse if I did. I’m TIRED.

5 things you can see
4 things you can touch

3 things you can hear

My daughter knocking on the door. For a long time I tried to cope by letting the attack take me in the bedroom, but “Mommy, open the door” doesn’t take no for an answer. The blood pounding in my ears–it’s trying to hold me down, and keep me there, and I’m sure that my heart will stop if I can’t get a breath in. My husband’s voice saying, “Come away, Mama’s busy right now.”

5 things you can see

4 things you can touch

One time after my brother Jay died I swore he hugged me. My then two year old eldest was talking to someone in her room at night, and when I said it’s bedtime she said, “I’m talking to Jason.” I told her he was sleeping, the baby I had named after my brother who had died. She said, “Not that Jason. Your brother Jason.” The breath left me and I sat down, crying. She had been three months old when he died. He was her Godfather. I asked the air if he was really there and felt the crushing bear hug that only a big guy could give….maybe what I felt was depression, or anxiety, or wishful thinking, but it felt like my brother and I’ve never forgotten that feeling.

5 things you can see

I see the door oppressing me.

The door leads outside and I don’t like the door. Or not the door really, but the hallway before it. Like a miasma of evil designed both to hold me in and hold me back, it becomes a tunnel to victory because I am stubborn.

The keys are on the hook, the keys will unlock my doors and unblock my path and I cannot go without them. The bathroom is to my right and inevitably I must go in there for a minute, not to relieve my bladder but to relieve my anxiety. I sit on the seat as if my body will release me, but it’s only enough to give me a reprieve.

A picture on the fridge because of course I need a drink I cannot leave the house if I am thirsty.

My own stupidity. I feel stupid, I feel restless, I feel like I can run out the door now and it will be fine as long as I go right this second–

“Mom, I forgot my jacket.” And “I can’t find my phone.”


Photo: CJ on Pixabay

A portion of this post originally occurred on Slay At Home Mom.

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