image of burning figure, stress, self-doubt, self-destruction
Going into third year,
I fear the deadlines and the stress and the expectations.
I fear the silent hands of the clock that creep onwards unnoticed.
I fear the unfinished, the half-hearted, the empty, the underdone -
I fear the not good enough,
The never good enough.
I fear the critic inside myself.
self harm, scars, body image, physical intimacy
I talked about stopping self-harm a couple of posts ago, but today has been the first hot day of the year here in sticky stuffy sweaty London and inevitably my mind has been with my arms and legs, and how they are going to feature this summer. I want to go into a little more detail about the ins and outs of scarring, how it affects me and what I do about living with it.
OCD, CBT, anxiety, illness
The 44th Summer
depression, medication, anxiety, pain
In the 44th summer of my life, I came undone. I found myself struck down by an incontestable and paralysing sense of refusal.
I am hesitant to call what I experienced a breakdown, but it was just that – a ‘breaking down’ of my life and my capacity to live it.
Outwardly my life appeared to be going well – I had a job that I valued, was studying full-time for a Masters Degree and had been invited to perform a theatre piece in Ireland. But slowly, almost imperceptibly, depression began to push its way upwards like rising damp. Sensing the imminence of a long, black shadow falling across me, I pushed myself harder. Sleep deteriorated and I began to rely on sleeping pills, Valium, and Melatonin. I lurched through each day punch-drunk with fatigue and running on borrowed energy.
On anger and kindness, and why they are not so far apart
suicidal ideation, self-harm, emotional abuse
I care a great deal about being kind. It is a trait I admire in those I love most, and one which I always aspire to in my treatment of others. Yet the act of kindness is easier said than done, because to be kind to another we have first to breach the more difficult task of being kind to ourselves. As Barbara Taylor and Adam Phillips perceptively put it, kindness means having “the ability to bear the vulnerability of others” (On Kindness, 2009). When we are kind, we tether ourselves to those we care about, so that we all might weather the storms of life together. But in order to share the burden of other’s vulnerabilities, we have to first be able to bear our own.
“It’s the hinge that squeaks that gets the grease” – Malcolm X
stigma surrounding mental health, racism, biphobia; mention of anxiety, depression, suicide and self-harm
Nearly 9 in 10 people who experience mental health problems say that they face stigma and discrimination as a result. It is well known that one way to challenge mental health stigma is to talk more openly about it, yet the mental health narrative is very homogenous.
People from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) backgrounds are more likely to be diagnosed with mental health problems and are overrepresented in mental health facilities, yet are less likely to engage with mainstream mental health services. Women often experience different symptoms of depression to men, but men are three times more likely to die by suicide than women. LGBT individuals have higher rates of anxiety, depression and suicidal feelings than heterosexuals, but rates of mental illness and self-harm are higher in bisexual women than lesbian women.
“How are you feeling about hand in?”
It seems that I am most vulnerable to depression during periods of high and low artistic productivity.
Kind of a cartoon series
anxiety, destructive thought patterns, medication
Part 1: Spiral
A few weeks ago I read a very well written article in Vice about living with anxiety. These particular words stuck out to me:
“How did I go from telling no one about my issues to writing in such detail here, you might rightly ask. To which there is a very simple answer: people all over the world plough the internet every day searching for mirrors to their own pain, looking for evidence that people have overcome dire mental discomfort. An echo. When I was unwell, that is all I wanted – some idea that I could come out of those black woods.”
I wrote this poem when I wasn’t feeling very well. I wrote it mainly because I felt angry. If I hadn’t felt angry, I wouldn’t have written anything, because when I don’t feel well words stick in my throat and to my fingers and don’t seem to come out as they should, if at all. So this, in a way, is my ‘fuck you’ to depression. I had to force the words out, like an angry vendor coaxing dawdling schoolchildren from their shop. But I managed to it. So I guess that’s something.
One Thousand and One
oppression, injury, illness, death
“a celebration of those who keep going despite all that life throws at them”
One Thousand and One
“You have died a thousand deaths”
The doctors said to me
But if I’ve died, why does it hurt,
Why is my soul not free?
stigma, isolation, mention of abuse
At times I ask myself why I write, because often, I write things in rushes of passion only to find them too melodramatic or excessive to be something good. Another thing that I wonder is why everything I write always has to return to a single motif, to a single event and theme. To a single moment, actually. If I were a writer, I wouldn’t be a very good one. Someone who can’t imagine things isn’t fit to be one. Someone who is confined, confines, oneself to a narrow cabinet of experience and never ventures outside of it doesn’t have an interesting enough story to tell. And I remember that I used to be a very creative child, almost a wild one, back then.
she’s punctuation she’s
chronic illness and symptoms
she’s punctuation she’s
the mean green fisted stomach clenched fist alpha female uber bitch slap she’s my future wrinkles not merry laughter lines or crows feet but the clenched teeth and fixed frown jowly rotten stare at the damp cracked wall of my nursing home she’s every painful rap against my arthritic knuckles she’s the walking cane the early bitter middle age she’s farts she’s death she’s ulcers she’s the pool of rancid spit from constant grinding nightmares haunted dreams of all the things I saw somebody else achieve and all the things I know that I will never no she’s not the drive that makes me who I am she’s the choke that stops me short and wants to throw away the driver’s key to sit and stop and watch the traffic and there’s always someone else driving ahead of me on the one hand they’re a road to follow on the other well I hope they crash