You are never alone – Sarah Jean Bowers

Depression and anxiety
Encompass more than sadness,
Fumbling hands,
and racing heartbeats.

It’s missed deadlines,
Canceled plans,
drawn blinds to block the sun,
prayers to make it to dawn.

It’s silence
after breakdowns,
Bruised knees
From praying
for peace.
It’s lying in the fetal position,
drowning in a sea of tears.

It’s succumbing to grief
And the lies it sometimes tells.
It’s heartache
holding you down.
It’s searching for answers
at the bottom of the bottle
when you sometimes hate
the taste of air.

But it doesn’t have to be permanent.
Your strength is stronger
than that which holds
you down.

You know the taste of
resilience and perseverance.
It’s as sweet as
the sun when
You finally step outside
and she kisses
your face.

You have touched hearts
with your bravery,
Unknowingly healing
others’ wounds
when they realize
they are not alone.

The stigma is fear’s best friend.
Don’t let it paralyze you.

This world has
hands to hold,
With journeys and
breakdowns
Similar to your own.

You, beautiful soul, are never alone.

© Sarah Jean Bowers 2017

sjb

Sarah Jean Bowers is a poet, old soul, and resilient warrior.

At the age of eight, she lost her mother in a tragic car accident. She self-medicated with poetry and began to put words to the feelings that held her down. Twenty years later her father died in an accident. She attempted to soldier through, but PTSD and anxiety forced her to take a step back, slow down, and start to heal her wounds. She listened to her body and finally took the time she needed to find steady ground and a purpose to live her life to the fullest.

She has turned her tragedy into poetry with the intention of empowering and healing others with her words. You can find her poetry on Facebook and Instagram.

In the absence of melancholy

Fear no longer sits with
melancholy; it dances wildly,
trumpeting its arrival upon the
departure of sadness. There was
security in despair, as if
depression was some sort of
cloak of invisibility, and wrapping
myself in it ensured my quiet
observation of the world.
Fear has stripped me of my cloak
to parade me naked
through rush hour traffic,
an amusing distraction
for the hordes of unforgiving eyes.
The echoes of laughter
have found a way deep into
the canals of my ears, riding
the waves into my brain to stick
like terrible songs; melodies
that pine for lost loves
like melancholy and me.

© Nicole Lyons 2017

You Don’t Know Me – Dianne Hoffmeyer

 

 

You think you know me?

You don’t.

You think I’m the same woman from a few years back?

Not even close.

You think I’m still quiet, subservient, timid and fragile?

Afraid Not.

You think I’m just going to let you do and say what you want to me?

Think again…

 

I can see through your lies and bullshit.

I was taught by the very best.

I know your game of manipulation, you’re a player, but now I am a coach.

I know how to be strong, because that’s all I’ve ever been since I put myself back together- alone.

I am neither quiet, nor am I timid.

 

I say it like it is, I am proud of who I am,

I do not like to fight, but I am not afraid to bleed.

 

I use my voice to rise above the lies and rumors and gossip that is said about me.

 

No, I know exactly who I am.

 

I am not scared to be myself, I am not scared to be alone, I am not scared for my future even though I don’t know what’s in store for me.

 

I stitched my pain, my tears, my blood,

my anger, my sadness and my loneliness together with such a durable string, that no matter how hard I am tugged on,

pulled on, stretched, dropped,

ignored, abandoned, and no longer loved

so well, that I have MADE the woman you see today.

 

I am everything you hate, I am all kinds of hurt, I draw strength from solitude, my ideas are formed from isolation. I am loved by myself, for myself, with no motives, with no deceptions, with no lies.

 

So before you think you know me,

Think again.

© Dianne Hoffmeyer 2016

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Dianne is an amazing woman; to call her “strong” or “brave” doesn’t cover the half of it. Dianne is a fighter. Blessed with nine beautiful children, she has lived through every mother’s worst nightmare, the death of her child, and she has done it twice.

As a survivor of domestic violence, Dianne found the courage to put her ex husband behind bars, after he shot and stabbed her.

Clean for seven years, Dianne is a recovering addict who in her words, “kept breaking out of handcuffs” until she realized it was time to stop.

Diagnosed with bipolar disorder, anxiety, and PTSD, Dianne is also in advanced stages congestive heart failure. To say she is brave and strong doesn’t do her justice.

Dianne found happiness with her soul mate and was recently married. Her kids are her life, and every decision she makes is made in hope that it is the right one and guides them down the right path in their lives.

The life of love she tries to live each day is a legacy she hopes her kids will live, learn, and never forget.

Never Leave My Side – Abbie Zebrowski

Never-Leaves

 

It’s a war

that can’t be won

only fought

It’s a pain

that burns fresh

and it burns deep

It’s a disease

that hides behind

pretty smiles and

sparkling eyes

It’s a silent scream

with bloody talons

tearing through the soft flesh

of my still beating heart

It lurks just beneath

the surface of my

serenity

The darkness that

overwhelms my light

The fear that wakes

a child at night

It

Never

Leaves

My

Side

© Abigail Zebrowski 2015

 

Abbie-Sidereal-Catalyst

Abbie is a published writer and poet who creates with passion and conviction. She doesn’t shy away from the truth and often writes about her personal journey with depression and anxiety. Abbie is a fierce mental health advocate determined to promote awareness and fight stigmas, which inspired her to start Depression: Catalyst for Change. Connect with Abbie on Sidereal Catalyst, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Abandoned in Wonderland – Charlene Trolinder

I wasn’t born into normality. My first breath I ever took on this earth came with struggle and strife. I’ve only known the painful roads of life. I guess that’s what contributed to the coldness of my beating heart most of my life. I wasn’t a daydreamer, a wish upon a star type, because I knew just how cruel life could be.

 

Then one day I met someone I saw in a different light. She touched a void in my life, a mother. I began to believe in fairytales. The Emerald city seemed so real and and the wizard was granting my wish. I almost couldn’t believe it after so long of emptiness and hurt, I had fell down the rabbit hole and found my wonderland, and my white queen was someone I could love and call mom. I should have known better. I should have known every star wished upon dies out. Every daydream fades away. Some fairytales don’t have happy endings.

 

As I believed and trusted in her she was out seeking her knight in shining armor. He turned out to be my worse nightmare. I became a passing thought. I was simply pushed aside. Her knight in shining armor became the slayer of my self-worth and dignity. He picked each word with the intent of using them to shatter my soul. Each volley of cruelty he spoke to me scarred my heart more and more. Love had become my death trap. I survived because you see since my first breath of life I have known nothing but to fight and survive.

 

Today I don’t sit here writing this hoping to wish upon a star or dream a dream a little sweeter, I sit here bleeding these words to grow and heal. Today I hope for the heart to know I can be loved, the brains to recognize I am worthy, and the courage to understand that one day the world will embrace me for who I am, the little fighter that forged an undying soul and a big loving heart.

 

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Charlene Trolinder aka Lorna Evol is a small town kid born and raised in Dumas, TX. She fought all her childhood to survive, born with a rare chromosomal disease. She attended West Texas A&M, where she obtained a Bachelor’s in Psychology. It was later in life that she realized she struggled with severe depression and anxiety. Each day is a battle, but she loves the simple things. She is an avid reader and animal lover. She draws her inspiration from her struggles, and she tries to give hope to others through her words.

Follow Lorna’s beautiful words on Evocative Eloquence.

Six Words

It’s amazing how much can be said, or not said, in six little words.

 

Is It Good Enough? – Matthew D. Eayre

My first day at preschool, I could see that the teacher’s aide wanted to teach me the letters, so I didn’t say,

 

I know this already… I was afraid of hurting her feelings. When she asked me to try, I read the words and kept reading, I learned to read at home when I picked up a book. I saw the letters and they made sense to me,

 

I see the words written when people talk to me, a speech-bubble running out of their mouths. The teacher’s aide in my preschool class was proud of me, for not needing her guidance, she was proud of me for things she had no part in.

 

Is it good enough, I asked, am I doing this right? My mother glanced at my drawing and grunted with a shrug. I was 13 years old, being home-schooled because I got into trouble at Zane Middle School, a year younger than all of my classmates after skipping 6th grade, but I didn’t have problems with them, it was the teachers, faculty, administrators… they wondered at my quirks, questioned my behavior, he’s so different, he’s so quiet, why is he always reading, he doesn’t participate in class, …

 

It doesn’t matter that he’s going through emotional trauma… It doesn’t matter that he passes all the tests…

 

He’s weird… He’s different.

 

They would pull me aside and attempt to exert their supposed authority. I fought back, able to see at 13 that I didn’t want to be what they were, and neither did they.

 

My mother the artist, the creative force, all energy and no substance, my mother the lazy, the coward, the phony star…

 

She barely could see me, and told me of her dreams for my life. She could not understand me, and was so proud of me for not needing her guidance, so happy that she did not need to teach me, her reward child, she named me, a gift to her from god, kind of odd, for a mother of seven to say, this ONE is a gift sent from heaven.

 

Is it good enough, I asked, as I knelt down to the grave of a boy, we were both Matt, he forgot his safety-belt, because his safety was always secondary to fun, his eyes closed and mine opened. As I stood behind the grave as they filled it, feeling like there was blood everywhere, and I spilled it… They looked at me, they looked through me, their eyes so young and full of please, please, please… Don’t let this be true. Is it good enough, I asked as I spoke words for him that I could not believe, goodbye my kid nephew, you fly while we grieve, and the priest in his Latin blessed the shell of his youth, a sermon so hollow, the harsh reality of truth, I must make this matter. I will not let his life be for nothing. I will be what he should have, a star in the sky, I will be the hero of this story, I need to make this matter, am I good enough to be better without God’s guidance?

 

Is it good enough, I asked myself, when I tied the flowers to the altar. She was always mine and I was always hers but this day we will

promise

 

To make this thing work, to put in the love, to hang the painting of us in our sky and always together, together,

 

Is it good enough, I asked as she walked out of the door, dressed as an angel and smiling like the sun, my mind overwhelmed by the love on her face, she is really going through with this and I am finally getting my want. Is it good enough, when my soulmate hurricane asks for more, to feel more, to do things which we have not done, to help her feel things she has dreamed of and never seen. Will she be proud of me if I try, will it be better if I am what she wants or if I am only pretending, will I be good enough to fill her senses with what she needs to feel? Can I be the ocean and not just a river? I am so afraid of not being everything she wants, is it good enough to try… If I fail? Will she be proud of me when I ask her for guidance, I don’t know my way through her maze…

 

Is it good enough, I asked as my words piled up, displayed bits of my torn sails flapping in the wind, darkness spun into woven gold and silver, shiny pages of purity risen from the graves of sin and beastly desire. Am I what my dear grandmother wanted to see, when she read me the guidelines of writing poetry, when she instructed my hands to create a new world, when she showed me how to say what needs to be said,

 

without first knowing what it is,

 

Is it good enough?

 

Am I a real boy, dancing and playing with Pinocchio, the Fairy Godmother has granted my wish, am I good enough to be more than what I thought I was, more than what life taught me to be?

Is it good enough?

 

Do I exist, am I real?

 

Just words on a screen

© Matthew D. Eayre 2016

matt

 

Matthew D. Eayre is a writer living in Denver with his wife and children. Refusing to exist as only one thing, he works as a supervisor in a delivery company while pursuing his BA in Accounting and chasing his dreams of making his voice heard in the world.

You can connect find more of Matthew’s stunning words at Matthew D. Eayre, Poetry of Monsters and on Instagram.

Purchase a copy of his extraordinary book here.

My Days Are Numbered

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My moods have been predetermined and prescribed.
Seven tiny compartments measure my days.
Pink and orange match the sunrise
and taste bitter with my coffee.
I chase them with water so they
mellow in my blood, as if water can
render toxic harmless.
Yellow sticks in my throat every day,
stealing my happy before it’s even activated.
White dissolves under my tongue, can’t get in
fast enough, impatient little fucker.
If white is late, I start to itch.
Blue makes me saddest of all.
Without blue the rest are just candy.
And I will never sleep again.
I’m always packing a rainbow
wherever I go.

Crazy is a Luxury

It’s finally here, the day has come when I see my GP about an ECT consult. The medication/psychiatric merry-go-round is killing me. I can’t do this anymore. I haven’t left my house in weeks, I haven’t written for PC because let’s be honest, I’m not doing so well with “Living well with mental illness” and why the hell am I going to preach that to anyone?

The new office is cheerful. I feel safe as soon as I walk in. The girls take me to an exam room right away, I must look a hot fucking mess. I can hear him in the hall and I’m clearing my throat in preparation for my speech when he walks in.

“Hello Boss” he smiles.

I adjust my sweater and fix an angry look on my face, tears pooling in my eyes, threatening to spill over.

“Look at this! TWENTY-SIX FUCKING PAGES!!!! I can’t do this anymore.” The twenty-six pages fall to the floor. He sits down and scoots his chair closer to mine.

He looks at me with those wise eyes of his. I’ve come to him for over twenty years now, for everything from a scraped knee to appendicitis, it’s comforting and painful to watch him advocate…

“You are a manic. I have dealt with manics for 40 years, Nicole…you are terrible to live with. If you could live on a deserted island things would be great..but you can’t! You yell and scream! You make it ridiculously hard for anyone to live with you, you have ever increasing demands for people to live with you and sometimes they make sense, but most times they don’t.

You have seen every psychiatrist in this city and every psychiatrist will just give you more medication. And they talk…

You are a very smart woman who does not thrive when she is limited with psychotropic medication. You will never be sane by society’s standards. When I make a decision, I make it. I don’t have to second guess my choices like you do. I don’t have to look at a decision that I make and think, ‘is this going to effect the rest of my life and my children’s lives’ and I’m so sorry that you have to do that when you decide something. I am so sorry that you have to second guess every single choice that you make. 
The fact is Nicole, you don’t have the luxury of going crazy. Your brain wants to not be sane. Your choices require effort and you can not let your guard down and I’m sorry, BUT YOU DON’T HAVE THE LUXURY OF GOING CRAZY.”

 

He hands me a tissue and nods his head. I feel better because he listens and he talks to me like I’m a real person, not just some number in a filing system. He cares because he’s my family doctor, he knows me, he gets me, this crazy nonsensical brain of mine that makes perfect sense once you clear away the muddles.

“There is no drug that is going to heal you. If I were to say the one drug that has helped keep you flat it would have been lithium, but you don’t do well flat. You can’t function as a zombie. You can’t live without feeling so we will do what we can to make your life and the lives of those your life as healthy as we can, without the side effects. We will not shut you off. The stabilizers will remain and we will get you off of the sleeping pills, it will be very hard, but we will do it.

ECT is not an option right now. You are not suicidal and you are not psychotic or in the throes of any psychosis. If everything was shit and even breathing hurt, ECT would get you to the point that you are at now, it’s not a good fit, and we’d have to get you to a psychiatrist for that.”

My eyes bulge out, “Don’t you let that witch come anywhere near my brain ever again. I will lose my shit if I ever have to see her again.”

He sighs and nods his head, used to my little outbursts by now. That’s comforting though, he gets me. He sees progress. He can point out how I can see the swings before they occur. He reminds me of the leaps and bounds that I have made over the last four years.

I’m calm again. “So that’s it then, I’m not going back to her or any of them. Why is it that they all want ignorant patients? Why can’t they handle people who ask questions demand answers and refuse to be zombified?”

He gives me that look, “You know why. I won’t talk poorly about any of my colleagues, but I have seen so much. I won’t let you fall back in again. It is up to you to get rid of everything in your life that sets you off, everything that is not healthy for you. It’s time to start saying no for your own health. Do what you need to do because this is how you’re going to live a life where you can feel and not be shut off. You can’t function when you’re shut off.

I’ll see you in a month and we will go from there. Make an appointment sooner if you need to. You know what to do.”

Do not let a practice that won’t heal you kill you.

 

Twenty-six Pages

 

Remember when I said I was going to get the pharmacist to print out every single medication I have been prescribed since 2012? Well here it is and it is a whopping 26 pages long. There is shit on here that I had to Google, absolutely no fucking clue what it was, and no recollection of having taken it for, say 3 months.

Lexepro? Nope, I’ve never tried that one yet…Oh wait, yup sure have, it’s cipralex and it works for me…if my stabilizers are good, if not ↑ ↑ ↑ Buspar? Never heard of it, but apparently I sucked a shitload of that back too. Oh and don’t get me started on the lithium again. On it, off it, on it again, increased, decreased, off it, try it again – 5 fucking times.

My failure to recall these specific meds come from the big stay at the psych hospital, or as I like to refer to them, The Lost Months, so I can forgive myself for the memory loss there. They had me so drugged that I’m surprised I could feed myself. Oh wait, I needed help with that too (lithium tremors.) Oh! I just had a thought:

I need to get the records from the psych ward…all of them…to see what they had me on there…all the times I was in there…different pharmacy so my meds from inside are not reflected here. Goody, that means more.

 

Here’s a look at SOME of my outpatient meds over the course of 3 1/2 years:

Seroquel

Quetiapine

Resperidone

Lithium

Effexor

Clonazepam

Zopiclone

Ativan

Lamotrigine

Cipralex

Olanzapine

Trazadone

Cymbalta

Chlorprazamine

Loxapine

Buspar

Mirtazapine

Topiramate

Pramipexole

Escitalopram

 

I have been on and off some of these drugs numerous times, take lithium for example, 5 times. Went toxic three times requiring kidney scans and two weekends in the hospital being flushed by IV. The doses have been increased, decreased and then increased again on so many.

This list does not include medications to counteract side effects from these listed.

I have seen 4 psychiatrist, 2 psychologists, gone to CBT, DBT, mindfulness classes and yoga. I have jumped off of meds, which put me into seizures that sent me to the hospital (not proud of that and wouldn’t advise it at all) and I am tired. I am so tired of this. I couldn’t even begin to guess how many pills I have swallowed in the last 4 years.

January 20th is the day that I see my GP. I’m taking this list with me. I’m going to ask for an ECT consult, I don’t know what else to do.