Is it possible for me?

To write about depression. I once wrote somewhere… and I’m paraphrasing myself… ‘The problem with writing a book about depression is that when you’re depressed, something like writing seems impossible’. This is as true for me now as it was then. Not that I’m writing a book any more. Remember that? Once upon a time I was able to work on my book. That seems far out of sight now. For me personally, I find that when I’m super depressed, I just lie there in bed looking at the ceiling, virtually unable to move. So I figured I’d write about the things that are preventing me from writing, possibly before that leaden depression closes in again and I’m unable to write anything.

1. Drugs – no not the fun ‘blue monkeys coming out of your nostrils’ kind. This is the psychiatric kind. I am now up to taking six pills a day. They are all white, which I find sort of pleasing on an aesthetic level. They are also different shapes, which is interesting. I’m not sure if they help me or not. I wish I could travel into a parallel world where I’m not on medication to find out if I’m more or less depressed. I may stop taking my meds in a month or so (after I get back from the UK). I do keep saying that and putting it off. i have been on at least some form of medication now for over a year. In fact it’s getting close to a year and a half. And I cannot face the idea of being someone who has to be medicated for their whole life. I would rather be dead. Much rather. Anyway, one of the side effects of the drugs is a sort of… general plateauing of mood. And this means that I can’t feel the emotions that I usually use to write. It really takes a lot to make me laugh or cry.

2. Depression – despite what I said earlier, I have had some of my most productive times when I was depressed. No it’s not a contradiction! Let me exasperate… extrapolate… explicate? Just non-depressed enough to write, but just sad enough to appreciate the dreadful poetry of the world. But recently my depression has been the even lower kind. The kind where you’re ‘too depressed to kill yourself’ as a friend of mine put it.

3. Inspiration – living in a new city is full of challenges. For me, meeting people has been the biggest challenge. I’ve now been here just over seven months, and haven’t made a single friend. I used to write a lot about observations of the world and situations that arose in my life. But my life right now is lacking experience. If my life were a colour, right now it would be a kind of grey. If my life were a food, it would be spam. If my life were a bird, it would be a grey grey pigeon. You get the idea.

So what has been depressing you so much, I hear you fail to ask? Well let me tell you. I hate my job. I don’t care if anyone I work with gets to read this. I hate it. It doesn’t challenge me, and yet there’s so much information to remember and my depressed brain keeps forgetting things, which makes me feel like I’m useless.

So why don’t you get a new job, you ask? Well I have been looking for a job on and off for two years, but I have yet to get a single job offer. Yes my qualifications are that impressive. I am overqualified to start at the bottom, and underqualified to start anywhere else. For the most part, I haven’t even got call backs. Nope, nobody even thinks highly enough to bother rejecting me!

To make matters worse, I recently got passed over for a promotion at work. This prompted the worst episode of depression I’ve had since the last time I went to the hospital, which was January 2012. They wanted to admit me to the psych ward this time, but there were no beds in the city available (thank god for health cuts). I have been sorely tempted to try and drink my troubles away, but so far I am resisting. I would make the worst alcoholic ever. I have two bottles of wine in my fridge. They call to me, so they do.

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Day 16 – Hospital

This was a green room

But it boiled like red

With spilt blood

Those multitudinous pinpricks

We use to practice our arts

That endless folding and unfolding

Of white like chrysanthemums

I sat in the middle

Slowness in a bubble, surrounded by speed

Circled in steel, I could not run

Even if I had somewhere to go

Even if I had someone to run back to

In fact they never pricked my skin with icicles

In fact they never let me change my clothes

Although someone did wipe up the blood and give me

What we would call a band-aid for a wound

The appliance-tight steel pressed in on my wrists

Or I pressed out against it, I am not sure

Surety was a rare commodity

In that green room

With its strong lights

And strong words

And no anaesthetic

For this type of pain

Day 3 – birthday

In another world

you are slicing

an exquisite cake

with your temple dancer hands

instead here tonight…

in another world

you hand me a parcel

wrapped in newspaper and black tape

instead here tonight

they hand me a bottle of pills

‘take four every day’ they say

and perhaps someday you will

be

better

but most likely not

in another world

I sit surrounded by lights

and voices play off the terracotta walls

in delicate tendrils of laughter

one could almost mistake this for a party

instead here tonight

I sit alone, only myself and the colour red

for company

in another world

I feel loved

on my birthday

 

Editing poetry: Dead book

I’ve had my own hospital experiences, but oddly enough I wrote this based on the second-hand books for sale in the hospital I went to that housed the Student Health Centre at UBC. I was thinking about the traces of their existence people leave on things that we view as purely material.

When a patient dies
They leave their books
Like petty debts
Unsettled
Sitting softback shuffling in the drawers
While nurses move, arch and serious,
Remove every trace,
Reduce Reuse Recycle
Sterilise dust, motion and memory.
The relatives, hands on shoulders,
Exchange grief by diffusion,
Collect clothes and eyeglasses
Smudged with the trace of a fingerprint
While the air conditioner howls like a storm wind.

And the books sit shuffling in the drawers,
Eventually found,
Pressed closed and silent
Stacked tightly in rows like a crypt,
Sold,
Given life,
So another can die between their pages.