The Upside Down See-saw: a poem about depression and suicide
When depression slides into the dark realm of suicidal thoughts, the secrets deepen.
The process of withdrawal into the safety of the personal interior began in the distant past and the idea of self-annihilation pushes you further into the abyss.
Therein lies the dichotomy. On the one hand, there’s the deep yearning for understanding and compassion, while on the other hand, there’s shame, confusion and the desire to shield your secrets from prying eyes.
Those eyes belong to the ones who shake their heads in disbelief, disgust and disdain.
The ones who either have no idea about what it’s like to fall into the hidden and hopeless chasm or who are so afraid of being sucked into the vortex that they resort to ridicule in order to keep a safe distance.
Even when someone takes the time to try and understand, it takes a small forcing to share those dark thoughts, which are usually sanitized and censored.
There’s so much that begs to be revealed, but to utter those black pearls means to bring the subterranean tentacles to the surface.
How do you share the concept of losing the will to live to those who only want life for you? How do you explain the way the horrors of the world plague your thoughts at night or how nothing holds any delight, pleasure or happiness like they did before?
What can you say, when only a void filled with the ghosts of tumbleweeds and a lonely, howling wind come to mind – blocking all the fulsome things you want to convey?
In the depths, the only thoughts swirling around are the ones that remind you that nothing matters. In the scheme of things, we’re all distracting ourselves to avoid the inevitable. No matter what, we all die.
It doesn’t matter how many pills we take or how much effort we put into preserving what we call our lives. Time marches on until we slip away into the darkness and for some of us, the dark reaches out to greet us beforehand.
It’s a taste of things to come.
Try telling that to someone who tries in vain to impress on you that it all matters; that you have a duty to keep on going for the sake of others, if not for yourself. Like trained monkeys, they beseech that you have to get back on the horse, keep your chin up and get back into it.
If nothing else, it’s to make them feel better themselves, not necessarily to help you deal with your darkness.
However, one question is hard for the depressive to ignore: Why choose to focus on doom and gloom when it’s just as arbitrary to focus on joy and light?
If focusing on joy and light is only a distraction from our inevitable demise, then surely the act of focusing on doom and gloom is only a distraction from our possible liberation from darkness?
It’s all about choice.
What do we choose to dwell on, when both avenues are equal distractions? Are both points of view equally valid? Were the Buddhists right when they advised to find the Middle Way?
Depression and thoughts of suicide are like Venus fly traps; dripping with the blood of their victims. They hold us in their cold, black hands – clenched and slimy – blocking the light and clouding our vision.
This is a place where hope is crippled. Any promise of escape is blocked by the heavy drapes of despair, loneliness and self-loathing.
Why not wrench them apart and bathe in the shards of light?
Why choose to wallow in the pit, when the lightness of the soul begs to soar?
Like riding blindfolded on an upside-down see-saw, the only way out is to let go and fly.
To sink is to fail.
Trying to find the missing piece of writing for my last chapter for the Parallel Portals – which is driving me batty. In the meantime I’m having a grey day so if you’re not in the mood for a downer, don’t read my angry rant! I decided to get back into some poetry to take a break. If I can’t find the piece I’m looking for then I’ll have to rewrite from memory, so I hope to have the final chapter (for book one at least) soon.
Here’s my rant/poem/whatever it is!
Oscillating between Bodhisattva and Hungry Ghost while the guilt demons weave in and out of this wretched soul. Throwing into the mix: an assortment of overwrought piety, anxiety and regret to complete the tangled mess.
Sidestepping this monster every now and then, I become the dutiful wife with a beautiful life; earnestly striving to maintain the façade and going through the motions. Obsessing about unnecessary details, wasting time making lists and planning for events which rarely eventuate.
All this to evade the internal monsters, while projecting the angel who is oh so concerned, helpful, compassionate and mostly trite.
All the lost souls ask, “What is the meaning of life?” There are only two possible answers to this pointless question: to create a meaningful life – or – there is no meaning. The latter is to say, we are an evolutionary mistake; a blight on the earth, teeming like maggots as we destroy the world and each other.
I say this with a mind full of despair at growing older; therefore – some would rest assured that this is my motivation for such darkness. Anger at the ever-encroaching demise which looms on the horizon like a black hole. All levels of existence rely on the state of mind over matter. If I maintain a sunny disposition, then my life will be a happy one.
This veneer of positivity is a cruel trick. The world is on fire and we fiddle like Nero. We smile, laugh and joke our way through life to fend off the inevitable doom; turning a blind eye to chaos and horror. Good luck the activist spirit, which hopes against hope that all the protests and petitions will shift the paradigms.
It’s easy to gnash your teeth against the world, but much harder to grin and bear it. Has it all been for naught? As long as one soul destroys another – in my mind – there is no hope.
Hope wrings its hands together and prays a futile prayer to the empty ether. All is as it’s always been: a swarming, writhing comedy of errors. While catering to the lower self, humans take their souls to a dark place; rarely elevating their acts to the level of holiness.
The donkey is always there, no matter how hard we strain for nirvana. This is the inevitable fact. We are material beings with scant understanding of the immaterial world – if it exists at all.
Doubt and hope occupy the same side of the coin. Both are empty, even though they materialize as the impetus for change. Sadly, psychological imperatives and motivations fall short of completing the task. This is the same whether the micro or the macro; as a whole or as an individual, we cannot ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Evolution drags its knuckles while the cancer eats away at our planet. What was the point of a “higher consciousness” for humans?
Did the Christians have it right when they said that to eat the fruit from the forbidden tree of knowledge would be the downfall of humankind? Would it have been better to have remained as an animal or an obedient slave to an invisible god?
We can try to prove our greatness by pointing to great works of art, scientific discovery and philosophical thought. Where has that taken us? While the earth burns under the feet of ignorant, greedy and savage humans; while children and animals are starved and abused, we continue marching towards the greatest lie – that we will be redeemed and rewarded.
As everything stands right now in my mind’s eye – there is no light at the end of the tunnel.
Let’s say that miraculously – tomorrow – everything changes from disaster to joy and peace. If a god or an alien were to come along and wave a magic wand or point a laser-beam – repairing the whole world and changing the inhabitants to angelic beings – what would it be like?
Would life have meaning then? Would some of us become bored with the status quo?
If I break that down to focus only on my own state of mind, would I find peace?
I try to surround myself with good experiences and positive people. I try to generate only happiness and do my best not to react negatively to those who are “less evolved” than I assume I am. I go with the motions, putting one foot ahead of the other and try to make time to create; to write. I find myself wondering about who will care – if anyone at all.
Does it matter? Probably not. Even if I write to only make myself happy, I still feel like a two-dimensional drone. Why am I posting this? Maybe to see if I’m the only drone who feels this way.
I guess I’ll keep dragging my knuckles and see what happens.
The Willow Lake Group is available!
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Paperback coming soon!
Here’s my book trailer!
Human First and Foremost
All else falls away in the face of oblivion. No race, no creed, no sex, no religion. Pushing these man-made attributes to the shadows – I see crystal-clear reality. No matter the gender – we are human. No matter the color or status – we are human. No matter the orientation – we are human.
We strain after the labels in order to slap them on each other – tagging and cataloging – even though we loathe being tagged and cataloged ourselves.
I will not be defined by my sex. It does not speak of my intellectual pursuits or creativity. I will not be a slave to the ugly machine – which dictates impossible standards of beauty while vilifying my humanity.
I will not expect a man to be a man, without tears or mercy – pumped like a grotesque, cancerous mass – dressed up as swagger. I will not expect a woman to be a woman, without strength or honor – trussed up and acid-washed to a bloody pulp – dressed up as sweetness.
If our hearts and minds are barred from meeting on common ground, where we can share our jubilations and fears – without resorting to a monkey dance in a cookie-cutter mask – I’m happy to pass you by.
I do not identify with any one race – even though four dwell within me. They are not beacons for others to flock to – to sway my focus. They are circumstantial and simple genetics – nothing more. They do not feed my psyche or prompt my interactions. I am a patchwork person like the rest of you, and I will not pledge allegiance to one over the other.
Poverty, destitution and despair are not the polar opposites of wealth, opulence or happiness. They are inter-changeable. We open our mouths and our spirits pour out – mangled and strangled by the refuse we absorb willingly.
We can sing in harmony or screech in discord.
It’s all down to a choice – not suggested or directed by the machine, but rather – by our humanity. What is right is what is good is what is natural – without fake holiness or smug science.
I can see my history – aligned with the horror as well as the beauty of the world. I will dust it down, wring it out and wrench myself into the person I was destined to become: Human.
Human first and foremost.