[Poetry Friday]: Inside my Illness

poetry friday

Iphigene here!

Hi everyone! I’m back for a short visit and its always lovely to come back for Poetry Friday. Fats asked me to visit and take over today’s post. So here I am. Today’s poem is an original I wrote on 03 February 2017 ( I have made a few edits since then). I was going through an episode and these words found themselves out of me.

For those who are unfamiliar with me, I’m a psychologist and I am diagnosed with Clinical Depression. I believe in talking about mental illness and educating people about it. It’s something I’m rather passionate about. However, I do have my days. Today’s poem takes you inside my head when I’m caught in my anxiety, when I’m depressed.  The poem also aligns with our current theme: Mentally Yours.

For more poems check our today’s host Michelle@Today’s Little Ditty

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Inside My Head

Let me confess:
Sometimes I ran out
Of courage
Of fight
And all I want is an end.

I grow weary,
Of the force I put
To breathe
To push back
The anxiety
Weighing on me
With counts of
One,two, three,
Breathe
Four, five, six
breathe

I am tired of needing a pause—
To slow down my life
As it picks itself up after—
After the waves of panic
After the unfounded fear
And the need to feel

I envy those who need not
Fight or gather courage
To live
and choose
to
Live

I envy those who
Need not wonder if today’s
Sadness is real or not
I envy those who need not
be miserable
Of imbalanced chemicals
in their brain

I envy those who need
Not write these words:
Sometimes I ran out
Of courage
Of fight
And all I want is an end—
To be swallowed whole
By the dragon inside my head

One, two,
Three, breathe
Four, five, six
Breathe Seven,
eight, nine
And in ten
I live through it again.

21 Comments on [Poetry Friday]: Inside my Illness

  1. *Fierce hugs.* See you soon, Iphigene.

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  2. Thank you for sharing Iphagene. I can empathise with the feelings, and am grateful that you are willing to express them so eloquently.

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  3. Thank you for this powerful poem from your heart, Iphigene. Thank you for sharing and for educating others about mental illness.

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  4. Powerful poem, Iphigene – it reminds me a bit of Jane Kenyon’s “Having it out with melancholy”. This is something I understand all too well.

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  5. Thanks for courageously sharing your thoughts about depression and anxiety. I agree that it’s important to talk about mental illness, to remove the stigma. You have reaffirmed my belief that poetry can be a powerful tool for coping and healing.

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    • Hi Jama,
      I always talk about my own mental illness with hesitation, but i also feel that as a psychologist and sufferer of depression I am in the position to share and talk about it.
      Yes, poetry is healing—to be able to honestly write out my feelings as i go through my depression has always been helpful.

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  6. Thank you for sharing this so beautifully. There’s such a terrible stigma around mental illness that makes it even harder for people to open up and get the support and help they need. You have a beautiful, and courageous, way with words.

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    • Thanks Jane.
      Yes, the stigma is great, even more so where i come from. And yet, its that shame around mental illness that has lead to many cases of suicide. I work with teens as a teacher and I see a lot of kids suffering with mental illness, whose needs are not addressed because parents refuse to see the problem. It is these situations that bring the courage and desire to talk about mental illness.

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  7. Oh, my. I echo the above comments of thanks for sharing. I have people in my life that I love that struggle with Depression and anxiety. Sometimes, it’s a struggle to know that a person is suffering and no words or actions on my part will help or alleviate or mitigate any of it. I wish and wish so much that I could DO something. Reading your very courageous words gives me a way to “do”. I can stand by, near, with you and my loved ones in these words. I can count the beats. I can wait for a break in the cycle. Again, thank you for sharing and letting me/ us get to hold the words with you.

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    • Hi Linda,
      If i could do more to bring to more people the experience I would. When i am at the thick of depression and anxiety, my sister would gently remind me to breathe, to count and relax. She would just stay there until i am calmer. A friend of mind would tell me, do what you need to do, but know this will pass, you are not alone. These little things, being there and just counting the beats is enough.

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  8. Iphigene, this is very illustrative of the way events can slam even the strongest of us. And how they can prey on the vulnerable. I like the way your words circle back, with a refrain, the way depression itself circles back and leads us into an insolvable labyrinth. I wish you happy winds of change.

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    • Hi Brenda,
      Yes. Even as a psychologist, despite my knowledge of mindfulness, CBT, etc I still, at times, succumb to my depression and feel it acutely. I have moments wherein all i want to do is give up, but depression is always a decision…in believing that this too will pass, that this is the natural cycle of it.
      Thank you for your thoughts. 🙂

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      • Depression is also a survival skill. An ability to hunker down and wait out the bad times without needing to be active — which could precipitate a calamity. Sometimes, just brooding until the clouds pass is the right answer. The clouds do pass, the sun does shine, the flowers do bloom and all is eventually right again. It’s easy to have faith in the good times, but I think having the habit of thinking that way in good times makes the bad times more bearable. Our ancestors survived great hardships. We can, too. I’m not a psychologist, but I weather the dark days, my own and those of family members. We are all in it together, in this soup of life.

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        • Yes, Brenda. It’s exactly that. I have learned to let things roll off my back and surrender to it without beating myself up with it. Its about not dwelling in the negative thoughts while not running away from it. In my own journey what i have learned is that surrender/ letting things go allows one to survive the episode. Thank you for adding your thoughts inti this.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks for opening dialogue.

          Liked by 1 person

  9. Iphigene, breathing is supposed to be natural, I’m so sorry it has taken on an arduousness for you. Thanks for continuing the conversation about depression–it’s something we all need to talk about.

    Liked by 1 person

    • When i wrote this poem it was the first time since my diagnosis that i wanted to be ‘normal’, to not fight for my life, to have breathing easy, to not need to be in my darkness and gather all the courage to choose to live. In writing this poem though i realize i was the kind of person who could do that and that is enough.
      Thank you for joining in the conversation because it is important. Mental illness affects not only those diagnose with it, but the people around them as well.

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