I AM FINE

We are all guilty

of saying those two words that mean so much while being so small.

Those two words

“I’m fine”.

Behind smiles we hide and behind words we close the door to

anyone who may want to enter and reach out a hand

to anyone who might try to climb in a window

we board up every entrance with those two words –

harmless.

“I’m fine”.

So they’ll stop asking and

when they stop asking how we are,

what is wrong,

we can stop smiling so much

we can let our shoulders sag a little when we walk

we can slump down in our chairs because

“we’re fine”.

When they stop asking we can stop pretending to be

so happy all of the damn time because if they ask again

we’ll just say

“I’m tired”

“I had a long day at work”

“I’m just stressed”

“I’m fine”

When we are the farthest from fine but we think

who wants to hear about my problems.

Who wants to sit here and watch me cry over things

I can’t even change.

So we ignore those hands scratching at our walls

We ignore those voices trying to reach our ears

We ignore the ladders placed at our gates

and we repeat

“I’m fine”

 

-CM

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Brave

You wake up to the sun high in the sky and you only wish to crawl back under the blankets because at least there it is dark

When you finally drag yourself out of bed and close the blinds to shut out the light you sit in the black morning and hang your head

Your mind has been screaming at you for months and you have finally given in to the echo telling you

that you are worthless, that this body is not enough for such a beautiful world, that everything you give will always be too little

but I think you are brave for waking up.

I think you are brave for closing the blinds. For huddling in the corner.

I think you are brave for living this day even when you don’t remember how.

I think you are brave because you could easily give up – but you haven’t – there is a strength in that.

I think you are brave for letting the voice in. You haven’t let it over power you as it so easily could.

I think you are brave for breathing. I think you are brave for choosing to wake up each day even if you never leave the house.

I think you are brave for trying – and that has to be enough.

 

-CM

Let’s Run

You don’t need me to tell you that suicide is not the answer.

You don’t need me to sugar coat this story either with promises of

a better tomorrow and a light at the end of the tunnel.

Since the moment you admitted your depression to the world everybody

has been telling you that it will be okay.

Every last stranger and friend has told you to keep your head up.

I could easily hold your hand and walk with you in this dark

if that’s what you need.

My arms will create a barrier between you and the negative thoughts

if you need someone to protect you from yourself.

I am not here to tell you that everything is going to be fine.

I am not here to tell you to keep your head up.

I am here to tell you that you are not alone

I am here to scream at you because you stopped listening to your own voice

months ago when the alcohol stopped numbing the pain

and no matter how loud you cranked the music

the voices in your head would not shut up.

I am here to yank you up off your feet and

out of the shadows.

I am here to run with you until our legs give out and we fall

and find that the ground

is a perfect place to start building again.

I could easily tell you that suicide is not the answer.

I could say the words as easily as anyone else because they are true.

But we both know you won’t listen to me.

You’ve forgotten how to really listen and that’s okay.

I don’t want to tell you words you aren’t going to remember.

I am here to show you

that this life is worth living.

I am here to show you all of the things that you forgot.

So let’s call out of work.

Let’s go on that trip you always wanted to take and if we don’t have the money

let’s just drive until we get lost and when we get lost

let’s park and stare up at the sky

talking of nothing

and just cry because sometimes

crying is the only answer

and sometimes

there doesn’t have to be an answer

or a reason

or a promise of a better tomorrow.

Sometimes there just has to be a tomorrow.

And another tomorrow. And another.

I am not here to make empty promises you won’t believe.

I am here to show you all of the possibilities

all of the happiness and light your life could hold

if you make it to another day and then another week

and then another month and eventually

another year.

Tomorrow might be horrible.

Or it might be the best day of your life.

I have been where you are right now

but I am not here to tell you my story.

I am here to tell you that yours is not over.

Don’t let it be over

this is not how your story ends.

 

-CM

 

Anxiety

I was never good at math in school but I learned the basics of algebra.

I was taught every step to drafting an essay from start to finish.

I could recite to you four poems I was instructed to memorize and

I could also draw you a picture of the back of that boys head in my English class,

the one I sat behind for a year,

because it was at his head of hair I would stare when I couldn’t breath

but the teacher continued speaking anyway.

It was not her fault. She couldn’t feel my world collapsing.

I can still hear the steady ticking of the clock drowning out the mumble of my classmates,

can still feel my palms getting sweaty when the walls closed in one me –

there was never a class on how to exist in this body.

I was never taught how to breathe when all of the oxygen has been sucked from the room or how to claw these words out of my throat

they tell me it’s anxiety

that I have a problem that can be solved with some breathing techniques and maybe a few pills a day but I still walk down the halls and feel like a ghost of myself

sometimes

I can see myself walking and hear myself talking and feel myself breathing

but I am not there.

They never taught me how to deal with this urge to run

not when the going gets tough but when surviving takes more energy than living.

I can’t walk into a room without scanning the room for exits,

I can’t join a group of people in casual conversation without first convincing myself they don’t hate me,

I can’t ask you how you are because of fear that you’ll return the question.

But at least I can find the value of x.

 

-CM

 

Trying Something New!

What Depression Feels Like – A Poem

Today, as I explain briefly in the video, I thought I would try something new for me. I’ve always liked the idea of reciting my poems rather than just typing them out for you all to read. I thought I would start off here. I didn’t have this poem memorized, so I am reading it off the screen, which explains why my eyes are moving so much. And the camera quality isn’t great. But those things aside, I hope you enjoy this, and let me know which you prefer!

I love spoken word poetry, and most of my poems are written with the intent of being read out loud. If you all like this, I would be interested in playing around with better camera quality and lighting, and reciting poems that I do have memorized, in a bit of a more practiced, and not so relaxed setting. Let me know what you think!

 

I’ll also leave the poem below in case you would rather read it.


The first time somebody asked me what depression feels like

My tongue ballooned inside my mouth

They asked me

“Are you just…sad all of the time?”

And I nodded

Instead of screaming No!

If I was merely sad all of the time

Why would my face twist into this upside down frown

Why would I tell you I am

Fine when you ask me how I’ve been lately

If I was merely just sad all of the time why

Would I push them all away

The hands that reach out to help me

Why would I touch their fingertips for a brief moment

Before closing my eyes and forgetting how good it feels to be needed.

I don’t blame you.

You unknowing examiner simply curious

What does depression feel like

I lived in the same house for most of my childhood

I could tell you where each coffee table and arm rest sat

I could trace for you a map of each safe walkway from door to door

But when the lights are shut off and the darkness swallows

I stumble into corners

I know that if I turn right now I will find a lightswitch on that wall

But I turn a second too soon and my hand finds a jagged edge

Of a picture frame inside of the light switch

This is what depression feels like

I have lived inside this body my whole life

But sometimes

When the lights go dim

I can’t seem to find the light switch.

 

-CM

Who I am Today

I am not the same person I was five years ago. I am not the same person I was a year ago even, or honestly, a month ago. I hope that you aren’t either.

Every day, I learn something new. I am constantly evolving and changing. Sometimes, these changes aren’t for the better. Some days, I look into the mirror and I don’t like what I see. But tomorrow, I have the power to change that. In the next minute, I have the power to change. That is the beauty of this journey that we call life. We don’t have to remain the same person every second, every day, every year – we can shift and evolve as many times as we like. This is something I didn’t fully understand until this past year.

Throughout High School, as many do, I was struggling to find who I was. For a majority of the four years I spent there, I was very unhappy. Not because of the school or the people, but because I felt like I needed to know who I was, who I wanted to be, and I had no idea who either of those people were.

Now, having graduated High School three years ago, having gone to college for almost three years and hating it, and now working as a waitress with no real idea of what career I want to end up in, my first reaction having become this girl was shame. A little less than a year ago, when I admitted to myself that college wasn’t working for me, I was angry. I was mad at myself, because I was supposed to be the girl who had it all figured out. I did very well in High School, my grades were always high. My grades were great in college too, but I was a different person than the girl who had first enrolled.

I’m not angry at that girl anymore. I’m not angry at myself anymore. I was finally able to accept that I am shifting every day, and that being angry with that doesn’t make much sense.

Five years ago, I was a teenager struggling with her identity, shy and extremely introverted. Three years ago I was finally truly happy with where I was and who I was for the first time that I could remember. Last year, I was a very sad girl again and I thought for a while that I was never going to be happy again. Yesterday, I was empowered, strong, I felt on top of the world. Today, I am missing someone, this morning I was pretty scared for the safety of someone I love, and I didn’t feel all that strong. Tomorrow, who knows who I’ll be. But that’s just it.

I can be whoever I want to be. Happy, sad, strong, excited. Vegan, fitness oriented, lazy, relaxed. Whoever and whatever I want to be – I can be it today. And tomorrow I can be the same girl or someone else entirely.

It’s totally up to me. As far as we know for certain, we only get this one life. There is a real beauty in that I wish more people would see. Why stay the same when there are so many beautiful things to be?

Panic Attacks

The room is too small and the walls are closing in

I can’t breath

My lungs are collapsing under pressure from this

elephant that has planted it’s beautiful self on my chest –

The world is spinning faster and faster –

I’m on a tilt.

My fingernails dig into the rich earth,

searching for a hold,

something to keep me from falling into the blackness lying below –

I scream

But no one can hear me because

my mouth never opened.

– Chan Eliza

You Are Not Alone

“What reason do you have to be depressed?” “You’re so young, you don’t even know what real problems are, believe me, you’re not depressed.” “You’re just over reacting.”

These statements only begin the list of doubts I heard from not only strangers, but even family and friends when it first became apparent that I was struggling. Struggling being the watered down term I began to use when depressed caused people to tip toe around me as if I were made of glass.

While it didn’t take much to admit to myself that I was depressed, telling others was another story. I knew that people wouldn’t believe me. And even worse, people would.

To this day, several years later, my history with depression isn’t a story that I tell very frequently. There is such a stigma around the word, especially for young people. People immediately want to know every reason you have to explain why you are depressed. They think that just because you are under the age of twenty five, your life requires their expertise to determine the legitimacy of your mental illness.

Dozens of therapy sessions and many long nights crying later, I can proudly say that I survived my battle with depression. But that was just one fight. The truth is, for most, depression is a long war that has to be fought many times before it’s truly won. But the difference is, I’m not scared this time.

I swore to myself after I was quote on quote determined “cured”, that I wouldn’t speak of my depression publicly again. The truth is, I’m not even certain why I am doing it now, but what I do know, is that there are way too many young kids hiding in their rooms, suffering, afraid to tell anyone because they are afraid they won’t be heard.

I remember all to well being sixteen with my head between my knees in the corner of my room, sobbing into a pillow in hopes that no one would hear me. Just as awful, I remember the days that I couldn’t cry at all and my body felt numb.

I know I am just one person in billions. But we all are. If nothing else, I hope this post makes you think. I know it’s different from my previous poems and stories, some even uplifting and inspirational. But the truth is, if I hadn’t been able to make it through my very real depression, a depression many people didn’t want to recognize existed in me, then I wouldn’t have been here to write these posts.

You’re not alone. Your depression is real. You can beat it. Thankfully for me, I had very loving parents and an amazing best friend that pulled me through to the other side, while I kicked and screamed right along side them. But many people aren’t as lucky. All it takes is for one person to say “This is real. This is not in your head. This is scary, but you are going to be okay.”

Be that person.

Please leave me a comment, let’s start a discussion. And please, feel free to share. The world needs you.

What Anxiety Feels Like

When I was a little girl the monkey bars at the school playground were my worst enemy

They were out to get me, I know it because

All of my friends could crawl across them like they were born to scale buildings but

When it got to my turn the bars became fire and my hands were sticks

At the first touch I would burst into flames

Imagining falling three hundred feet to my death with no one there to catch me –

Of course –

When I did fall, that one (or ten) times

There was always someone there who would catch me

In their outstretched arms as if they knew the whole time

That I would not make it to the other side

Now the other side is my own happiness

And the monkey bars, the dreaded monkey bars

Are my own mind

A burning fire living and breathing to take me down into the depths of an ocean

And I can swim pretty well

But I never learned how to stay afloat above waves ten feet tall

I don’t know if I can get across

But shouldn’t I be able to? – because all of my friends did it

On their first try

They are smiling and I don’t think they have to think about how to move their face muscles into the correct position just to prepare themselves to do it

They are talking and I don’t think they have to prepare themselves five minutes for the simple interaction of saying Hello

My worst enemy now lives within me

Getting to the other side looks like it should be so simple

But I have felt the heat of the flames too close for comfort licking at my hands

And what if I catch fire?

I hear “Someone will be there to catch you when you fall”

I can see them below me

With their arms outstretched

An army of ants swarming beneath with the sole intent of breaking my fall

Before the fall breaks me

Why do I need a safety net?

Shouldn’t I be able to cross without the help of these warriors who seem to be able

To handle their own lives so well – why do they have to handle mine too?

My mind, this anxiety, these monkey bars stretch before me

It is not that I don’t want their help

I have depended on others for too long

The fire is licking and the ocean is raging and my heart is pounding

But for fucks sake I am going to make it across this time

And I won’t need anyone to catch me

– Chan Eliza