The Long Road Home

It’s been awhile since I’ve walked
this dusty road,
but I remember it well.
That spot there,
where the sun never quite reaches,
is where I found myself
on my knees
praying to a God
I didn’t believe in.
Bodies upon bottles
upon razor blades gleaming
with self-harm and a cocaine glow
fill the ditches beside me,
and the trenches of my memories.
In this place the hills are alive
with the sound of sudden drops
and last gasps,
and the air is thick
with the stench of shame.
This is a long road,
and east is west
and north is every failure
I have ever eaten.
South lies,
between humility
and every lie I have ever
sworn in blood.

© Nicole Lyons 2017

Breaking Beautiful

breakingbeautiful
Photo Source: Pinterest

Show me what
it looks like,
the beautiful part
of the breaking.
Describe it
to me in a way
that lets me feel
it down deep
where madness
decays in my bones.
I need to know
there’s beauty
somewhere in all
of these pieces
so I can believe
in something again
and know this
isn’t all for nothing.

© Stephanie Bennett-Henry 2016

It’s the held breath
burning against
walls of lungs
sighing into ecstasy.
It’s the terrified scream
burning the backs
of throats ripping
pain into pleasure.
It’s the storms
and stillness
we are made up of.
When the chaos
comes calling
the calm answers
her call,
and without one,
we have no other.

© Nicole Lyons 2016

Oblivion – Nicole on FC

Thank you to Feminine Collective for publishing Oblivion. It was written for a Creative Nonfiction challenge and it had to come in at under 1500 words, and it was by far one of my hardest writes to date, but I am extremely pleased with the end result.

oblivion

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.

Crazy, Cancer & Chuckles

Last month Stephanie Bennett-Henry and I wrote something together that touches on Stigma. I was reluctant to post it for (get this) fear of offending people. How ridiculous is that? Pretty ridiculous considering the disgusting comments and jokes that people are making today, in regard to Sinead O’Connor.

I swear to God, some of you need to pass a test before using the Internet.

It’s May, which means it’s Mental Health Awareness month, and I tell you world, you fucking need it.

How funny would it be if I laughed as your daughter lay dying from cancer? What about your mother as she pukes up any strength she has left after dialysis? Maybe we could make a video that pokes fun at everyone who struggles to breathe in the middle of an asthma attack, bet we’d have a viral sensation on our hands there.

Your ignorance is showing, cover that shit up.

Stigma.

 

S&N illness

Clusters

milky-way-1023340_960_720

It is as if some sort of cosmic energy
is continually pulsing
through my veins,
cascading along, dancing
with my white blood cells, finding
a home in every organ
of my body.
I hold the universe
inside of me
and I delight
in the idea of that for days
on end,
but when I hit blackest of holes,
the galaxies
that live beneath my skin
never cease.
Bone deep
exhaustion near cripples me,
the melancholy damn near swallows
me alive,
but still, the stars erupt
with every
ba bump of my heartbeat, and shoot
through my system.
This world is a cruel place
for a mad girl
with stars falling
under her skin.

© Nicole Lyons 2016

me3

For more of my poetry and prose you can check out The Poets section of the site or follow me at Nicole Lyons.

Anchored

Until you’ve tethered your madness

to someone else’s sanity

in order to keep breathing,

you don’t know vulnerability.

 

 

My Days Are Numbered

img_2197

 

 

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.