‘I will not pretend, I will not put on a smile, I will not say I’m alright for you’ – Martha Wainwright.
Because there is a pressure to be alright, isn’t there? Because every single time I write something for this blog, I wonder if I’m being too gloomy. But the truth is, this is a blog about depression. It always has been, no matter how much I dance around the issue. Even though I’m getting better, it will never be gone forever. Perhaps one day it will take me away again.
I never realised, until I became depressed, just how many people have mental health problems. I’ve run out of fingers and toes to count the number of my close friends and family that have said ‘me too’. It is so pervasive. If I think about it too hard, I wonder how anyone manages to live their life at all, how humanity hasn’t already collapsed altogether centuries ago.
I will not say I’m alright for you. Because I’m not alright, not at all. I’m exhausted and anxious and gloomy. I can’t settle, but I also can’t move. I’m uneasy in my chair, waiting to leap up into action. I will also say that I’m happy. Because I am very, very happy. Both are true at the same time. And why shouldn’t I be content with that? I have everything I wanted. I live in a lovely flat in a part of the world I adore. I immensely enjoy working on my degree. And I have wonderful people around me – some that I’ve known for ages now, and others that are very very new, but no less precious. But I still have every right to not be alright.
I looked back at my poem ‘Half Moon’, and I realised it wasn’t accurate anymore. It wasn’t recent. The issue had moved on, improved. So last night I tried to write a new instalment to convey this. But I couldn’t quite. Because I could only be honest with myself.
Then you rush,
And you ask me why your heart’s racing?
We won’t gallop off now
Or we will,
We know we will,
But we promise we’ll try.
Here you are
This is for you
I can but hope.
Because you never could keep secrets, could you?
You’re never content with a glow.
You pack up all your bags and then throw them out the window.
And can you ever consider
Can you hand over the reins?
Write down another pronoun.
The sprint is a prison,
But when I suggest you sit down
That traps you too.
With your jumper on backwards
You’re one thing after another
Until every word becomes meaningless.
You’re screaming and screaming.
Never making a sound.